Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Silver Suitcase - Terrie Todd

About the Book:

It’s 1939, and Canada is on the cusp of entering World War II. Seventeen-year-old farm girl Cornelia is heartbroken when she learns that her beloved soldier, Henry, has been killed in a train wreck. Alone and carrying a heavy secret, she makes the desperate choice that will haunt her for years to come. Never telling a soul, Cornelia pours out the painful events of the war in her diary.

Many decades later, Cornelia’s granddaughter, Benita, is in the midst of her own crisis, experiencing several losses in the same week, including her job and the grandmother she adored. The resulting emotional and financial stress takes its toll on her and her husband, Ken, who is also unemployed. On the brink of divorce, she discovers Cornelia’s diary. Now the secrets of her grandmother’s past will lead Benita on an unexpected journey of healing, reunion, and renewed faith.

My Thoughts:

Hardly ever can I say, "I know this author." But this time I can. As you probably saw in a previous post, I've known Terrie for quite a few years. And I've known this book was in the works for a while, and was really looking forward to its release. It was definitely worth the wait! I was excited to see that it's set near Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada, as I haven't read too many books with that element to them. I love stories that use a diary to give readers a window into another era, and this one did this beautifully, although that was not the only way we got to meet the spunky Cornelia, one of the main characters. But, I just felt I learned more about her through those journal entries. One of my favourite diary entries was about a time when Cornelia was upset with her aunt for spouting off about the new clothes Cornelia got. She was however happy that Aunt Nona liked the new clothes. She poured out her frustrations in her diary, ending her rant with, "So Aunt Miriam can go and suck on lemons." 

Reading her Grandma's journal helps Benita deal with struggles in her own life. The healing, renewed faith and courage to make a fresh start, spreads to the rest of her family. Terrie has skillfully woven together the stories of three women, from three different generations, each with their own trials and triumphs, to create a captivating narrative. Although I would have loved to read Grammy's entire diary, the fact that I couldn't, added another level of intrigue to the story. I was a bit confused when I started reading the epilogue, as it mentioned people I hadn't met in prior chapters, but I was happy to see a few more diary pages, including Aunt Miriam's bombshell revelation. It's a unique way to end a book, even though it felt somewhat whimsical. 

I'm grateful to the author for providing a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. 

For those of you in the Winnipeg area:
A book launch is planned at the Grant Park McNally Robinson, 1120 Grant Ave. in Winnipeg on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7:00 pm.

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