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Shelter: A Novel Paperback – May 15, 2012
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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“A harrowing, haunting, and exquisitely written novel about sisters, mothers, daughters, and whom we love and why. The characters are so alive, you feel them breathing on the page. Loved. Loved. Loved.” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You)
“In prose as lush and vivid as its British Columbia landscapes, Frances Greenslade's debut novel, Shelter, offers an achingly beautiful story of loss, longing, and hope. I love this book.” (Will Allison, New York Times bestselling author of Long Drive Home and What You Have Left)
“The longing for a lost mother has rarely been expressed so soulfully. The yearning of these two vulnerable young sisters for their mother, who has disappeared, is palpable. I was entirely absorbed in their precarious situation and their desire to find her, yet aware that their mother's gift was the resourcefulness they needed to survive. Greenslade is a fresh new voice that you are sure to hear again.” (Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Blue Beret)
“Poignant, tender and vivid, Shelter traces the relationship of two daughters with their missing mother through family stories. Greenslade’s gorgeous landscapes and loving attention to her characters make this journey through loss and survival unforgettable. I was glued to every page.” (Eden Robinson, author of Traplines)
“This book casts a strong spell—the landscape is so vividly rendered, it is a character all on its own, and sisters Maggie and Jenny are unforgettable in their resilience. Greenslade depicts the battle between different types of love with harrowing intensity and quiet compassion. Shelter shows us how wilderness can be asafer haven than a home with four walls, but also how love, despite its heartbreaking unpredictability, remains the shelter we desire most.” (Jamie Zeppa, author of Every Time We Say Goodbye)
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the discussion questions included in the reading group guide asks if there is any reason to doubt Maggie's reliability as the narrator. My answer to that is a firm no, as she exhibits so much confidence and capability that there's little to quibble about with her viewpoint. Although she is not omniscient, and possibly most unskilled at recognizing what motivates others, what she does see in people is their redeeming qualities. She's accepting of others and their quirks. It allows her to be adaptable to the unlikely situations in which she finds herself and it makes her a very likable character. Her nonjudgmental nature is probably what I admired the most about her. She doesn't even seem to judge her mother for abandoning her two young daughters.
It was interesting to see the profound differences between Maggie and her sister Jenny and how they faced their circumstances. It seemed to illustrate the adage about predicting how a person will react when faced with a particular situation, because the two sisters went in divergent directions with their lives, one choosing a path fraught with trouble; the other staying on the straight and narrow. Thankfully, the stronger character prevails in this case so that the story ends on a promising note.Read more ›
They lived deep in the British Columbia bush and had what they thought was a pretty normal life, with a loving father and mother. Then one day everything they knew to be normal wasn't anymore. Maggie and Jenny struggled living with a man and woman who really felt inconvenienced by the girls. They became young teens and began to depend more and more on each other and became quite independant. The deep wound was always there as to why there mother never returned for them.
At one point, after a pivotal time in the young girls lives they decide to find their mother at any cost. What they find is incredible. This story ripped my heart out on the one hand and gave me hope on the other. These girls learned more than any young person should have to about survival and what it means to be family. This is an extremely well written book and I am so glad I decided to read it.
When Maggie is about ten years old (and Jenny apparently about twelve), Patrick is killed in a logging accident. Irene and the girls hold out for a while, but it's not long until Irene leaves the girls with childless neighbors who have problems of their own. Irene says she will be back soon - a few weeks - but the weeks turn into months. No one knows where Irene is or what she's doing to earn what money she sends to the adults caring for the girls, and eventually that money stops coming.
At first, Maggie takes an attitude of, "Well, she's the mom. She knows where we are. She'll come for us." But eventually a crisis happens that is more than the girls can handle, and Maggie sets out to find Irene.
The novel covers about four years and is told from young Maggie's point of view. The voice is right for that of a girl of those years (ten to fourteen) who is forced to grow up faster than perhaps she is ready. Readers do want to find out why Irene left the girls and whether or not the girls would be reunited with their mother.
This novel, however, does tend to try to do and be too many things at once. It is primarily a family-problems novel, but it deals with many other things - perhaps more than are really manageable to do well. There is teen pregnancy (though saying much more than this would be a spoiler), some dealings with homosexuality and people who believe themselves to be homosexual, and some dealings with mysticism and First Nation beliefs.Read more ›
Maggie Dillon is the younger (13) of two sisters who's father was killed in a logging accident and were left by their mother at the home of an elderly couple who were friends of their father. The mother never returns, but does send money both to the girls and their caretakers for a brief period, then all contact stops. Maggie is the family worrier, but she never become maudlin and faces her problems.
The older sister (15) becomes pregnant and desperately needs her mother as she struggles with grave decisions that will effect the rest of her life. Jenny asks Maggie to find their mother.
The story is a story of growing up in a warm and loving home which is suddenly wisked away and finding one's self as the sister's struggle to find a place for themselves in a world.
Ms. Greenslade takes the reader deep into the wilderness of British Columbia where the land, climate, fauna, and wildlife become characters to enhance the story. The reader will fall in love with Maggie and keep turning the pages. Then wanting more of the saga of the sister's lives.
Nash Black, author of SANDPRINTS OF DEATH.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading for a book club...Not a book that I would normally read. Cannot say I enjoyed the book,Published 4 months ago by Buddys Pal
Ms. Greenslade has been influenced into writing lots of descriptive prose . The problem she has is that there is so much prose . Read morePublished 14 months ago by jkobi2011
This book had many moving parts. Overall a good read. Well developed characters. Ending was a little weak but worth the readPublished 16 months ago by Christine A. Snoad
One of the best novels I have read in a long time. Maggie's yearning for her vanished mother is very poignant. Read morePublished 23 months ago by rushriver
I was first attracted by the life in the woods, the beauty and peace. As in real life things are not as they seem as two girls lose their dad, participate in the mother's... Read morePublished on April 2, 2014 by neenah
Fances Greenslade is a gifted writer. She chose an interesting subjext/plot. All 12 of our members dug deep into a mother's feelings etc.Published on September 4, 2013 by Cynhtia A. Drake
This is a story told from the point of view of a child which left me doubtful that I would find much enjoyment in the reading. I was wrong. Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by ardnam
I'm not sure who I'm more disappointed with: the author whose skills clearly lack, the agent who decided to represent the author, or the publisher who paid to publish this book. Read morePublished on February 2, 2013 by 23Jasper