Monday, 22 May 2017

"Wild Rose" by Sharon Butala

Betty, Sharon, Terri
   Isn't this a great picture!  Terri and I were attending a book weekend in Banff in 2008, when we met this author Sharon Butala. She had written a non-fiction book and we had an opportunity to visit with her there.
  Sharon has recently written a memoir and, while I am waiting to get that book, I thought I should read some of the fiction that she has written over the years.
  "Wild Rose" is a novel about homesteading on the prairies in the 1800's. But more than that, it is a story about Sophie.
  The novel begins with newly-weds Sophie and Pierre claiming free land and starting a farm in Saskatchewan.
  I was drawn into the story immediately.  I love "Little House on the Prairie" stories.
   However, after four years, and a son, Sophie was left on the prairies, with no home or money.  Her husband, Pierre had left and sold the farm.
  Some of my favourite stories are about women facing huge challenges in their lives.  I was cheering her on as she struggled to survive with her young son.  My interest in Sophie never waned throughout the book.
   However, it wasn't a fabulous read for these reasons:
- some really clunky syntax e.g. "His papers were spread out over the table and irritation appeared on his face, as she pushed open the door, that evaporated when he saw Mr. Campion enter behind her." 
On other occasions, she had so many phrases in one sentence that I lost the thread of the sentence.
  Could more editing have made the reading more comfortable?
- obviously Sophie did a lot of ruminating about her situation, and sometimes it was too much.  I wanted to get on with the story.  We heard the same thoughts over and over.
- Sophie's childhood was related in chapters of flashback, perhaps necessary and mostly done well.  But it still irritates me to switch back and forth.

  This is a long novel, but it did keep my interest.  Sophie was young and attractive, so she had lots of men interested in her.  What would she do?
   The ending is not conclusive, but quite satisfying.

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