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Whale Song [Kindle Edition]

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)

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Book Description

  • International Bestseller
  • National Bestseller
  • Top 100 Bestseller
  • Award winner
Thirteen years ago, Sarah Richardson's life was shattered after the tragic death of her mother. The shocking event left a grief-stricken teen-aged Sarah with partial amnesia. 

Some things are easier to forget.

But now a familiar voice from her childhood sends Sarah, a talented mid-twenties ad exec, back to her past. A past that she had thought was long buried. 

Some things are meant to be buried. 

Torn by nightmares and visions of a yellow-eyed wolf and aided by creatures of the Earth and killer whales that call to her in the night, Sarah must face her fears and recover her memories--even if it destroys her. 

Some things are meant to be remembered--at all cost.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Originally published in Canada in 2003 (but never distributed in the U.S.), this moving story features Sarah Richardson, whose family moves from the Montana countryside to Vancouver Island just as she's about to enter sixth grade. Sarah soon finds that island life suits her perfectly--thanks, especially, to her new best friend, Goldie, whose Native American heritage Sarah finds fascinating, especially the wisdom passed to the girls from Goldie's grandmother, Nana. Sarah is also intrigued to learn that her marine-biologist father shares a passion with her new Indian friends: killer whales, which the natives revere and her father studies. Life isn't all native spirituality, however, as Sarah must confront a family tragedy that will change her life forever. Though overly melodramatic in places, Tardif's story has that perennially crowd-pleasing combination of sweet and sad that so often propels popular commercial fiction, especially coming-of-age stories. Tardif, already a big hit in Canada, may soon be a name to reckon with south of the border. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Moving...perennially crowd-pleasing combination of sweet and sad...Tardif, already a big hit in Canada...a name to reckon with south of the border." BOOKLIST

"Whale Song is deep and true, a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart. Cheryl Kaye Tardif has written a beautiful, haunting novel." ―New York Times Bestselling novelist Luanne Rice, author of Beach Girls

"I read Whale Song and loved it." ―Jodelle Ferland, actress (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Case 39)

"Cheryl Kaye Tardif's novel, Whale Song, would be a tough act to follow for any written genre." ―Fresh Fiction

"Tardif again leaves a lasting mark on her readers...Moving and irresistible." ―Midwest Book Review

"Whale Song is reminiscent of Ring of Endless Light by M. L'Engle, and Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd." ―Carol D. O'Dell, author of Mothering Mother

Product Details

  • File Size: 457 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Imajin Books; 2 edition (May 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NX7LSA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,784 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
The title of this book leaped out at me from its striking cover, but when I started reading, I was captivated by how meaningful the title was to this very moving story. Cheryl Kaye Tardif's words, scenes and characters flowed through the pages so smoothly I almost forgot I was reading. I felt as though I were in Canada with the characters.

This is a story about an eleven-year-old girl, Sarah Richardson, who moves with her family to Vancouver Island, Canada where her father, a biologist, has taken a new job studying killer whales. Sarah makes friends with a neighbor girl, Goldie Dixon, who is a Nootka Indian. Before Sarah moved there, a tragedy occurred in Goldie's family; it involved her older brother, and there is a mysterious tie-in to this novel's title through that occurrence.

Goldie's wise granddmother, Nana, steeped in Indian tradition, plays a major role in Sarah's life, and Goldie's entire family becomes friends with Sarah's family as the story unfolds. When Sarah's mother becomes ill, a boy who has a crush on Sarah gives her a lovely whale figurine which is another tie-in to the title.

What happened in Goldie's family before Sarah came to live there? How does Sarah lose her mother ... and then her father, in uniquely different ways? How does she reclaim them both uniquely different ways? And how does Sarah lose her memory? Why can't she remember the events of the most tragic day in her life? And just how does a whale figure into the plot? Do people who are drowned truly come back as whales, as the Nootkas believe?

That's a long list of questions, I know, but this author answers them with such dexterity, she'll leave you breathless.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Voice May 19, 2007
Fresh in from Wyoming, Sarah is the new girl on Vancouver Island in Canada. Along the island's shores, Sarah finds a wonderful new way of life and unexpected friends. It soon looks that the rest of her childhood will be spent in an idyllic atmosphere.

Things slowly change as Sarah's mother succumbs to a devastating illness. Her life is shattered when her mother dies and father is accused of murder. Struck by the loss of a memory that could either help or irreparably harm her father, Sarah slides into a prolonged period of torment in which she resists a tribal chief's promise that a wolf will guide her to the truth of that horrible day her mother died.

Sarah has a chance to find peace and happiness, but the journey may be more than she can bear.

Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif offers a sometimes sentimental, sometimes shocking story about the effect of tragedy on a young life. The abrupt change from an ideal childhood to the aftermath of a frightening ordeal is a premise with a great deal of potential. Tardif explores some wonderful aspects here, but there could have been so much more. More than half of the book is spent in weaving the structure of Sarah's life on Vancouver Island. The meat of the story, Sarah's transformation from happy child to troubled teen and adult is skimmed over, a list of highlights from the years following her mother's death.

While the first half of the book is beautifully written, there is the feel of a major disconnect between it and the ending. The author tries to tie it in with hints dropped in the form of foreshadowing, but this technique is iffy at best.

All told, I have to give this novel an average rating. WHALE SONG has the soul of a great literary work, but the surface was only scraped.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touched my heart... August 12, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am thrilled to be introduced to Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. This talented author has written a moving tale that touched my heart. From the opening page of the prologue, I was captivated.

Eleven year old Sarah Richardson has her world uprooted when her parents move from a ranch in Wyoming to Vancouver Island, Canada. Her father is a biology professor who has taken a job studying killer whales. Things are difficult for Sarah at first, but she is fortunate to meet Goldie Dixon, a neighbor of the same age who happens to be a Nootka Indian. Goldie's older brother drowned and her Indian tradition believes that he has come back as a whale and speaks to her. As Sarah faces a family tragedy, Goldie and her wise grandmother, Nana, will help Sarah navigate the rough road that lies ahead.

Whale Song is a powerfully moving story that had me in tears more than once (and I'm not usually an emotional reader). It's a tale of love and sacrifice, friendship and survival, and doing what is best for those you love--despite the cost. But what makes Whale Song sing is Tardif's beautiful writing. I picked it up one afternoon and couldn't put it down until I was finished.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif has written two other books, Divine Intervention and The River. I have definitely added them to my reading list.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing, powerful story March 18, 2008
Only child, star in her parent's crown, Sarah's fairytale life takes a startling and sad turn. Whale Song is beautifully written, and though not an action novel, it is a page turner. The novel is emotionally evocative (I shed tears for Sarah and her companions) but there are many, many heartwarming and encouraging aspects. You quickly become embroiled in the narrator's life, and Sarah's voice is so strong you could believe you are reading a true story. The characters are convincing, engaging and memorable. I found myself thinking about the novel and its "lessons" while driving to work, often in fact. The Native American mysticism was particularly well done and interesting.

The story begins when 11-year-old Sarah, her mother and father move from Wyoming to Vancouver--from the mountains to the sea. Her father is a marine biologist, her mother an artist. Sarah is devastated by the move but soon makes friends with a Native American girl named Goldie and is accepted by Goldie's family and her wise woman grandmother Nana but at school another Native American student teaches Sarah about discrimination and cruelty.

Whale Song follows Sarah as she matures--her tragedies and triumphs--to a satisfying end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful moving story but it is very sad
A beautiful moving story but it is very sad. I loved the imagery, the family and their relationships with one another. Read more
Published 25 days ago by The Notebook Blogairy
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put down
I loved this book ...just telling me a very real and emotional story. I finished in two days. Get you'll love it.
Published 1 month ago by Richard Cosme
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgiveness set me free.
Orcas, or killer whales as they are named misleadingly, are supporting the main story of legends, grief, goodbyes, new beginnings and assisted suicide. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Solon9
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is beyond amazing story.......NO SPOILERS...
This book is beyond's such a lovely story written with so much love my heart melted and I wished the story didn't end....
Life is very special....... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michelle baldwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling!
I don't have a lot of time to read, but I shortened a night or two so I could read this one. It's very well-written, and the story is so compelling. Read more
Published 2 months ago by amcReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Good descriptions put you in the place of the main character.
This led me to a place I had never been before and allowed my imagination to truly experience what she was doing and feeling. I want to read more from this author.
Published 2 months ago by Pam Dell'Olio
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really loved this heart touching story. Highly recommend. Keeps you guessing to the end.
Published 2 months ago by vickie
4.0 out of 5 stars Well told tale
Written as the protagonist's exposition of her life lessons and experiences. Excellent descriptions of the settings. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stan Shaft
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Free on kindle
Published 3 months ago by -J-
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked but didn't love
I have never been in such a quandary as to how to review a book. I liked this book and would say it was 3 1/2 stars for me, but I wanted to love this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Shellebelle
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More About the Author


Dear reader:

I'm an international bestselling Canadian author who loves to say, "I kill people off for a living!" You can imagine the looks I get from people. Sometimes I'll tell them, "Fictitiously, of course. I'm an author." Sometimes I won't say anything; I'll let them wonder...

Booklist calls me "a big hit in Canada...a name to reckon with south of the border."

Born in Vancouver, BC, I was a "military brat" and a "military wife" who has lived all across Canada and in Bermuda. I now reside in Edmonton, AB, with my husband Marc and our Pomeranian Princess, Chai.

AGENT information:
Erica Spellman-Silverman
Trident Media Group
41 Madison Avenue, Floor 36
New York, NY 10010

Ph: 212-333-1506

Cheryl's links:

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Dr. Death aka Jack Kevorkian will soon be out on parole
who are we to judge him. Who are we to say that someone doesn't have the right, their own personal right to ask him for assistance in leaving this world. we legally kill people in combat over land, oil and insignificant political strife, so who are we to judge.
May 9, 2008 by EliteLamo |  See all 3 posts
Whale Song deals with being bullied. Were you ever bullied as a child?
I was picked on when I was younger. I took it out on myself. I didn't have many friends when I was that age. I stuck to myself.
Feb 22, 2013 by Ashleigh |  See all 2 posts
If someone you loved was dying and in pain... Be the first to reply
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