Norma Joyce is young, dark and homely but tough as prairie grass; Lucinda is fair and dutiful, and stands between Norma and the bitter anger of their father.
In the drought-ravaged prairies of 1930s Saskatchewan, two sisters fall in love with the same man in a saga of unrequited love.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 384 pages
- Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/10/2001
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780704347441
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Review by RobinDawson
By the end of this book I felt as if I had spent many seasons on the Canadian prairies and endured much harsh weather; as the book covers more than 30 years the passage of time is marked by a multitude of dust storms, droughts and freezing winters. Brrr! Not only does the weather keep changing but the action keeps moving backwards and forwards between Saskatchewan, Ottawa and New York. A bit hard to keep track of at times.But don’t get me wrong, I liked the book very much and enjoyed my trip to Canada.The descriptions of the natural environment (the weather, seasons, flora, landscape) are excellent. "Here you find almost every extreme. The coldest winters and the hottest summers, the longest days and the shortest, the richest soil and the poorest, the biggest views of the simplest skies, the least rain, the most wind, the best light and the worst dust in this best and worst of all worlds."Set in Saskatchewan in the 1930’s the story focuses on two strongly contrasted sisters and their rivalry to win the attentions of a handsome visiting weather expert, Maurice Dove, aged 23. The younger sister, Norma Joyce Hardy is no angel – at times she’s selfish, willful and ruthless, but she has an appealing directness, resourcefulness, a passionate curiosity about the natural world, and a thirst for knowledge, experience - and love. She’s only 8 years old but she becomes ‘imprinted’ on Maurice and spends the next 30 years hoping the love will be reciprocated, but it is not. "A child falls in love with a man, and the man is seduced by the intensity he has generated. Then his attention shifts to someone else. End of story." By the end of the novel Norma has outlived her mother, father, sister and brother. She’s glad to have survived, but she’s also gained some insight into her own deficiencies. Hay writes with intelligence, deft humour and the imagery is often superb.