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Karen Maitland
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Jack McCarthy thought he had it all. A great job in the mines, an adoring wife, three beautiful daughters, and a home he loved. Then the mine went bust and he was forced to leave behind his home in Newfoundland for the unknown plains of Alberta as he followed his best friend Pete to new job and a new life. Despondent and homesick, everything goes sideways, and Jack can do nothing but watch desperately as his entire life crumbles before him.

I don't have much good to say about this novel. It has the makings of a good story. The possibility is there to tell a moving story of what happens when a few wrong turns lead a person down the wrong road. Unfortunately this book failed in almost every way imaginable. I didn't care at all about what happened to Jack, Angela, Pete, Wanda, or just about anyone else in this book. There wasn't a single sympathetic one in the lot. Jack was intended to come across as lost and homesick, instead I just found him spineless and weak-willed. His wife Angela, as the moral compass of the novel, alternated between being an obnoxious control freak and an emotional basket case. As for Pete and his wife Wanda, they are two of the most unlikable, selfish people one could hope to meet.

Furthermore, the story itself was confusing. I frequently found myself flipping back through pages trying to find a connection to what I was reading then and what I had just finished reading. Tangents were inserted with no rhyme or reason. Chapter breaks were strangely placed, breaking the story up in odd ways, showing up when least expected and not appearing where there was a natural break or shift in the timeline. The era in which the book was set was unclear. There were times when I thought the book was set during the height of the mining boom, in the mid nineteenth century. Other times it seemed to be set in latter portion of the twentieth century. It wasn't until the epilogue in which it became clear that the majority of the book took place during the 1980s. I just couldn't find any sense of flow or continuity anywhere in the novel.

I really think the whole book could have benefited with a couple rewrites and a good editor. I wish I could say I enjoyed the novel, but in the end it was such a mess I can only give it two stars for the possibility of what it could have been. I can't say that there is a single person to whom I would recommend the book.

I was provided a copy of this galley in exchange for an honest review.