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“Higdon's debut novel is a finely observed chronicle of two women's lives . . . this novel will appeal to readers more interested in the journey than the destination.” — Publishers Weekly
I am bereft! Closing the final pages of Christine Higdon’s beautiful novel, “The Very Marrow of Our Bones”, feels like saying goodbye to life-long friends. I shall miss Lulu Parsons and Doris Tenpenny, and all the characters I fell deeply in love with in this literary masterpiece. Of course, I’ll re-read this novel in my life, but there is nothing like the first time; books like this don’t come around often enough. (This will be on my Top Ten List for 2018 for sure.) Mary, Barnes & Noble review
"Raylene walked slowly across the grass, the morning light turning the bees into a burning torch. She was strong, her arms tanned and muscular. As a child, I had thought of her as the goddess Artemis she’d told me about. Now she was the woman who said she would never be my mother but to whom, more than anyone, I came home. There, in the McFees’ front yard, stood my own personal, sixty-six-year-old Artemis in sensible shoes and a short-sleeved polyester shirt. A feeling—maybe happiness, I didn’t recognize it—reached in and plucked a string in my heart that I had not heard played for a long time."
• Winner of the 2018 Foreword INDIES
Editor's Choice Prize – Fiction!
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• Interview with CBC PEI's Angela Walker
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Interview with Dionne Codrington
• Writer's Trust
Best Books to Brighten Winter Nights
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• Open Book interview – March 2018
Christine Higdon beautifully and honestly illuminates the devastating impact of loss and abuse. The Very Marrow of Our Bones refuses to sensationalize, treating its characters with empathy and respect. This hopeful story of kept secrets combines the page-turning intrigue of a mystery with the nuance of a literary novel.
—Attiya Khan, Co-Director, A Better Man
The Very Marrow of Our Bones is wise and fiercely tender, full of grief and longing and murky secrets. A beautifully written, marvellously assured debut.
—Jessica Westhead, author of Things Not to Do
A story layered with secrets, masterfully revealed. On every page, Higdon is fearless, placing unforgettable characters on roads where one misguided turn changes everything. Deep-seeded needs to escape, tangled with longing for home leads to an end that is both heartbreaking and hopeful.
—Heather Tucker, author of Clay Girl
Defiance, faith, and triumph
On a November day in 1967, two women disappear from a working-class town on the Fraser River. The community is thrown into panic, but no one can find a trace of Bette Parsons or Alice McFee. Even the egg seller, Doris Tenpenny, a woman to whom everyone tells their secrets, hears nothing.
Ten-year-old Lulu Parsons discovers something, though: a milk-stained note her mother, Bette, left for her father on the kitchen table. Lulu tells no one and buries the note in the woods. When Doris, who is more at home with chickens and green beans than with human beings, spots young Lulu with Mr. McFee, her hackles rise. Doris is convinced Aloysius McFee is to blame for the women’s disappearance; she knows better than to trust the man everyone in town thinks is just a charming gadabout.
But Lulu has already started running. For forty years she uses the safety of solitude and detachment until, at fifty, thrown together with Doris Tenpenny by odd circumstances, Lulu learns that she is not the only one who carries a secret.
Hopeful, lyrical, comedic, and intriguingly and lovingly told, The Very Marrow of Our Bones explores the isolated landscapes and thorny attachments bred by childhood loss and buried secrets.