The secrets that start with James who marries his 13 yr old girlfriend Materna, outcast from her strict Lebanese family to a house near the sea and far away from civilization where there isn’t much work only in mining. James has promised his mother before her death that he wouldn’t go down into the earth.
They get by with James tuning pianos, also with anything else he can do. More children are had, World War I starts, James is off to war, and Materna feels like her old self. Happy, Free of her husband since he is in the war, fighting and at any minute could be killed.
Through the eyes of their three daughters – Kathleen, Frances, and Mercedes and later Lily open up to the past and present – shocking, scornful and most of all blasphemous through the decades from the megar beginnings to WWI, to the growing of the town, to New York City, the emerging jazz scene where Kathleen is enamoured with them returns home without her dream of becoming a famous singer travelling the world away from the small town confines of Nova Scotia.
This book will have you right in the thick of things as the laughter, tears, and later actions and feelings of the daughters tell the story through their eyes, then the real story of things happen. The bonds that sisters have, develop over time, the secrets they keep to not hurt one another. The lengths they take to make sure that each other survives and lives their lives on the small island, or anywhere else.
It did take my breath away at how strong and committed these women were in hard times. What lengths they would go ro and the real reasons behind it all.
This is the first book I have read for Canada Reads 2010
Here is all about the book here