“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.”
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
• Winner of the 2018 Foreword INDIES Editor's Choice Prize – Fiction!
• Richard Lemm review: Lulu the Fiddler From Fraser Arm B.C.
• Nancy Wigston: "a wondrous book" Toronto Star
• Read a lovely Kirkus Review
• Foreword Review 5 Stars
• Books That Take You on a Journey 49th Shelf
• CBC Books, "How I Wrote It" Interview with Dionne Codrington
• Writer's Trust Best Books to Brighten Winter Nights
• 49th Shelf: 2018 Books of the Year: Fiction
• Literary Hoarders: 2018 Year End in Review
• Literary Hoarders: Top 10 CanLit in 2018
• A Novel Spot Bookshop @NovelSpotBooks: Chris's Top 5 Reads 2018
• A Novel Spot Bookshop @NovelSpotBooks: Susan's Top 5 Reads 2018
• 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.