A Novel

eBook - 2012
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A spellbinding and wise coming-of-age story, Shelter draws readers into the precarious world of two young sisters in search of their mother, and brings to life the breathtaking B.C. landscape through which they travel.

Maggie Dillon lives with her family in a small, roughly furnished cabin in B.C.'s Chilcotin region, where the land and the native peoples who've always called it home have taken in both pioneer settlers and latecomers like the Dillons. Her sister, Jenny, is the elder of the two, but Maggie seems beyond her years with how much she worries about what might happen to her family, so certain she is that threats to her family's cozy but fragile life in Duchess Creek are never far away. Her beautiful mother, Irene, takes the girls on magical camping adventures and has a carefree love of life. Maggie's careful father, on the other hand, takes her on outings to the bush where he shows her how to build lean-tos using leaves, sticks and fir boughs. Just in case. You never know when you might need to find some shelter for the night.

When her father is killed in a logging accident, Maggie thinks her worst fear has come true, but his death is only the first blow in the destruction of her family. Soon her mother, the one person Maggie has never worried about, abruptly drops off her girls in Williams Lake to billet with the gloomy Bea Edwards and her wheelchair-bound husband, Ted. Irene promises she'll be back for them, but weeks turn to months and then to years.

When trouble finds the girls for the third time, it comes for Jenny, and fourteen-year-old Maggie decides that the time has come to search out their mother and repair their fractured family. Her quest not only to find but to understand her mother brings the novel to a powerful, wrenching conclusion.

Shelter 's emotional richness, and Maggie's distinctive voice, evoke the bestselling novels of Miriam Toews and Mary Lawson. Greenslade's prose captures the exquisite beauty of the Chilcotin, the precious comfort of family and the poignant realization that we may never fully understand the people we love.

Shelter was first published as part of Knopf and Random House Canada's renowned New Face of Fiction program, which each year brings the cream of the crop of Canada's first-time novelists to readers, and has launched the careers of numerous authors who have taken their place amongst Canada's best. From the start, Shelter received outstanding reviews, and the book has since been named as a finalist for the B.C. Book Prizes' Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and for the Evergreen Awards in Ontario. Shelter has also been published in the United States and in Britain - where the country's largest book chain, Waterstones, named it one of the eleven best debut novels of the year - and rights have been sold to publishers in Germany and the Netherlands.

Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2012.
ISBN: 9780307360335
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: eBiblioFile
OverDrive, Inc

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From Library Staff

debwalker Feb 18, 2012

SLEEPER! Selected by Waterstones UK as one of the year's most worthy titles by new authors.

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Jul 04, 2017

This story of a Korean-Americanman coming to terms with the abuse he and his mother faced in his childhood is gripping, Growing up in a traditional Korean family where the wife is subservient to the husband and wife beating is common, even in the home of a respected academic, he has chosen to marry a non-Korean and has as little contact as possible with his parents. He is able to hold this distance until a home armed invasion puts the live of his mother in danger and batters his father. Forced, by his wife to have his parents come live with them. Kyung struggles with this. He and his wife have maxes out their credit cards, and two more mouths to feed, especially of two people with whom he is not comfortable. Is distasteful. I kept wanting to slap him and say grow up, now is your chance to reconcile with your parents. Just stop being so horrible. As the story comes to fulfillment he discovers there is much more depth to his mother than he suspected. Although forced to be subservient to her husband, she had backbone and was prepared to make her life more meaningful for herself. The story remaine open ended and the reader will be left wondering what happens to Kyung and his family.

Aug 05, 2016

A wonderful read from beginning to end.

Jul 13, 2016

Beautifully written. The novel brings to life the Chilcotin region of the BC interior and the lifestyle of the people, both native and white who live there. The story revolves around two sisters, Jenny and Maggie, whose father dies in a logging accident and whose mother leaves her daughters to board with a friend while she searches for work. But then her letters stop and 13 year old Maggie goes looking for her. Its hard to put this one down. I'll be looking for more titles from this Canadian writer.

Sep 22, 2014

Thank you, Frances Greenslade, I loved this book.

Dec 15, 2013

I enjoyed this book so much I didn't want it to end! Maggie and the rest of the 'cast' are very real characters with strengths and weaknesses we can all recognise. The story, beautifully written and told through Maggie's eyes is tragic and intriguing at the same time. The author has a very descriptive style without being tedious, which is a real skill. I will definitely be seeking out more books by Frances Greenslade.

donnabell Feb 21, 2013

Recomended & enjoyed. Story of mothers, daughters & sisters in the peaceful Interior BC- wonderful storytelling.

ChristchurchLib Jan 21, 2013

Jenny and Maggie don't have much, but they've got the love and attention of their doting parents ... until their father is killed in a logging accident and their mother leaves them with neighbours to search for work. Her letters, once frequent, eventually dwindle and then stop entirely as Jenny and Maggie grow older. Though they grow apart in the ensuing years, a crisis compels the resourceful, relatable Maggie to search for their mother and heal their fractured family. Set in the rugged Chilcotin region of British Columbia, this debut novel, which is really about survival, depicts both the wilderness of the area and the girls' heartbreaking situation with equal eloquence. Fiction A to Z newsletter January 2013.

debwalker Feb 18, 2012

SLEEPER! Selected by Waterstones UK as one of the year's most worthy titles by new authors.

Cdnbookworm Nov 05, 2011

I read this book in one sitting as it just captured me. The speaker here is Maggie. She is looking back and telling the story of her childhood. Despite being the youngest daughter, Maggie was also a born worrier and her parents often reassure her. She spends time with her father in the woods where he teaches her to be self-sufficient and a resourceful camper. When her father is killed in a logging accident, Maggie's world is turned upside down. At first things her family seems to be adjusting well, but when her mom temporarily leaves her and her older sister Jenny with a couple in Williams Lake while she finds work, Maggie gets worried again. The stretch at the billet grows for the two young girls from months to years, and while they try to rely on each other and their own ingenuity, they long for their mother, Irene. When Jenny finds herself in trouble beyond what she can cope with, Maggie decides it is finally time to go looking for their mother, a search that leads her in a new direction and forces her to look at her mother in a new way.
Maggie is a strong character despite her worrier nature and has been taught from a young age to be self-reliant and resourceful. These skills put her in good stead both in Williams Lake and when she goes on her search. She has a good sense for her own safety and what risks are worth taking, but her youth and lack of life experience do show as well. As we learn more about Irene and her motivations, Maggie shows her strength of character and finds a way forward for the family.

Oct 21, 2011

beautifully written, heartbreaking coming of age story.

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