Saturday 5 January 2019

Book ~ "Maple Sugar Pie" (2017) Susan White

From Goodreads ~ "Maple Sugar Pie" is the story of Hazel Whitford and her family's past.  Told through old black and white photographs, we see the events that caused deep fractures in her family and her estrangement from her husband and all but one of her living children.

We also see the story through the eyes of Hazel's grandson Michael's wife Jennifer, who lived with the elderly Hazel for five years. After Hazel's death, Jen and Mike's future on the farm, and the small business Jen has started, could be in jeopardy. 

Jen plans a reunion for the Canada Day long weekend hoping to reunite the family and to gain title to the farm. But will the estranged family want to return and will they be able to come to terms with the pain the events of the past have caused? 

Hazel had gotten pregnant by a fella before he went off to World War II.  Concerned what people would think, her nasty mean father married her off to Sonny, a guy who worked on his farm in rural New Brunswick.  They ended up having a happy marriage and more children until tragedy struck.  After that, things were okay until something finally broke up the family for good.

Michael is Hazel's grandson.  His mother (Hazel's daughter) had committed suicide when he was young and he was placed into foster care.  Jennifer is his girlfriend and they are short of funds and need a place to stay.  They start to visit Hazel and persuade her to let them move in with her on the farm.  Rather than taking advantage of her, they fix up the farm, have four children (who Hazel dotes on) and Jen starts a business.

When Hazel passes away five years later, it's discovered that all her children are on the deed to the farm.  Jen hates to lose what she has built up if they have to leave the farm but more importantly she thinks it's time that Hazel's estranged children and father come back to the farm to deal with the past.

This is the third book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  I liked the story and writing style.  It isn't told in a linear way ... we go back and forth from today to the past but also through Hazel's children's recollections.  It is told in third person perspective in various voices.  As a head's up, there is swearing and some violence.

I look forward to reading other books by this author.

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