Monday, December 19, 2011
DINNER WITH LISA (R. L. PRENDERGAST)
Joseph Gaston and his four children are seated on two seats of the train rushing through Ontario toward its destination of Philibuster, Alberta. Joseph is a widower and nearly 40-years-old. His children: Clare, 6-months; Nolan 11; Cole 7; and Sarah 4 are the light of his life. Poor little Sarah had succumbed to vomiting due to motion sickness and thus sat alone holding a bowl in her wee lap. Joseph knew that if his wife, Helen, were still alive, she would know how to help Sarah immediately. Joseph and his family are heading west toward a new life filled with hope and prosperity.
The train was grinding to a halt in Philibuster, a small town to stay with Joseph’s brother, Henri, and his sister-in-law, Tilda. It’s the 1930’s and the country is in the grip of the Great Depression but hope abounds for Joseph and his family, or so he thinks. Joseph is filled with optimisim about his new job until he finds out the job no longer exists. What is he going to do now with four children to feed and no income? He begins to worry and the burden and sense of responsibility he feels towards his family is almost crushing, but with the help of his brother Henri, Joseph may be able to survive but not before enduring more problems than one man deserves.
The character development is magnificent in this novel as are the descriptions of the town, its people and surroundings. I felt as though I’d been pulled into the book and could almost walk alongside Joseph seeing the sights and smelling the odours of the town around him. Joseph never lost his sense of belonging and he always had hope. He was forced to fight many battles one which included his sister-in-law wanting to take his children for her own feeling that she could do a much better job of raising them.
To me, this was a story of one man overcoming great adversity through hope. As long as you have hope, you have a horizon in the distance, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that is just where Joseph heads. I read this novel is one sitting, I was glued from beginning to end and would highly recommend it to everyone! Well done.