‘February’ by Lisa Moore

FebruarystarstarstarstarSurely you have also experienced this, but I love it when seemingly random forces conspire to all point in the same direction. Last year a gracious publisher replaced a book I had purchased which was missing the last 30 pages. For my troubles I was also granted the choice of a free book. I chose ‘February’ by Lisa Moore because the author was unknown to me and I liked the cover and the story line. Recently taking up the challenge to read books already residing on my own shelf (New Year’s Resolution), I threw ‘February’ into my bag for a 2 1/2 week trip to Australia and the South Pacific. While on the trip my sister-in-law wrote that she had just finished the book and was deeply touched by it. At the same time I discovered that it had recently won the Canada Reads competition! So I felt very affirmed in my choice of what to read next!

In 1982, off the coast of Newfoundland, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank, losing 84 souls in a night storm. ‘February’ is the story of Helen O’Mara, one of those left behind when her husband Cal drowns. This fictional account focuses on one woman’s struggle and loss, raising four children on her own. It is beautifully written, raw and heartfelt; so honest and down to earth and never errs on the side of sentimentality. If good literature is meant to get you inside another person’s skin, then this one hits the mark. Though not plot-driven, the book is very human and real, and uplifting even though much of it deals with grief. I liked the skillful way in which Moore beautifully captures small ordinary moments. Highly recommended, a very enjoyable read.

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