Monday, July 5, 2010

85 - The Sisters from Hardscabble Bay; Beverly Jensen










The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, is a poignant novel which spans a period of some 70 years. Beginning in 1916, the story follows the lives of two sisters Idella and Avis Hillock, who live on a seaside bluff in New Brunswick Canada.  When the novel begins, they are just young girls whose lives are forever changed when their mother dies after giving birth to their sister Emma.  The girls also have an older brother Dalton, but the essential focus of the novel is on Avis and Della.

After their mother dies, their father brings in a young French girl in to care for the children, but when that doesn't work out, he sends the older girls to live with relatives in Maine. It isn't long before the girls are back home (1921), to care for their father when he is seriously injured. Once they are back home, it is Della takes on the majority of the responsibility around the house. She resents the fact that her sister Avis is out having fun, while she is stuck at home.

As the girls become women they move from Canada to Maine, where Della gets work as a maid. She later marries Edward Jensen and inherits his difficult mother as well. Avis goes from one relationship to another, and never really settles down. In 1966 the children reunite to plan their father's funeral in a fashion that would have made their father smile.

There were several things that I liked about this novel, especially the way that it was more like a series of stories that followed the life of these two sisters from childhood to old age. The characters were memorable, and sense of place vivid, but what really made this novel memorable was the way The Sisters of Hardscrabble Bay came about.

Like my mother and my brother, the author Beverly Jensen died of pancreatic cancer; she in 2003. She was only 49 when she passed away, leaving behind her husband and two children. The author spent years writing this novel, chronicling the lives of her relatives within these stories. What a lovely lasting tribute to her short life. You can read more about the author's life, her family, and how her novel came to be published after her death HERE.
RECOMMENDED - 4/5 stars 
(Finished Copy sent to me for review)

16 comments:

  1. I have a copy of this book and plan to read it later in the summer or early fall. I'm glad to read your thoughts on it, Diane. I was touched by the information about the author. I'm glad her book has been published so that we can all share it. I love the cover on this one, the sepia tones and vintage look. I'll look forward to reading this one.

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  2. What a lovely review, Diane. I was so happy to see the thumb up as I want to read this book. My mother-in-law and 3 of her sisters came down from Canada to Boston in the early twenties to find work. She had some great stories about the impoverished farm she grew up on. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. I have been reading a lot about this book and think it sounds really interesting, but I had no idea about the circumstances under which it was written. It's so nice to know that the book was published as part of her legacy. Thanks for the great review, I will be looking for this one!

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  4. This does sound like it's filled with wonderful characters. Your review is great and it's piqued my interest.

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  5. This book sounds great. Something always grabs me when I hear it's a story about women that spans generations like this.

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  6. I hadn't heard of the author's personal story before. It seems she lived life to the fullest while she was here, and her story makes me want to read her book even more.

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  7. Just from your review the tone of this book reminds me of Clara Callan, which you might like, if you liked this one (although I could be totally wrong, since I know next to nothing about the Sisters except that I want to read it, now!)

    Thanks for posting the link to how this story came about.

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  8. I always find it so sad, when an author never gets to see their book published and selling. At least she leaves a legacy for her family to remember her by.

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  9. Haven't heard of it but something about the title suggested "Maritimes" so I clicked on your review in my reader. Glad I did, sounds like a book I'd enjoy.

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  10. I am waiting to get this book for review. Your review has certainly caught my interest. Thanks for visiting my blog today!

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  11. I've been debating on this book but by the sounds of it, it's well worth the read. Thanks for the review.

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  12. This one is on my list. I'm glad to hear you liked it, and I hope I like it too.

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  13. Another good book to add to my list!

    Hope you had a wonderful 4th!

    So sorry to hear about your Mom and Brother. My step mom (since I was young) is battling stage 4 breast cancer (for 5 years now). Cancer sucks...

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  14. What a touching background story to this novel - the author seems to have put a lot of herself and her family in it.

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  15. Sounds like one I would like to read. Sad news about the author.

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  16. I also received this book for review and really enjoyed it. I thought the story of the two sister's lives was told beautifully, and the authors connections to it and her story was also touching. I also think this book is well worth reading.

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