Kate's Ring
Kate's Ring
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Annotation: "Grassby's portrait of the urban and rural communities of Nova Scotia are filled with details of a bygone era, but astut... more
Catalog Number: #6588196
Format: Paperback
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 276
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-88995-567-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-88995-567-7
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Set in the 1920s on Cape Breton Island in Canada, Grassby's novel, based on family stories, introduces readers to siblings of differing temperaments dealing with family crises. A mother's precarious mental health and a father's alcoholism figure in how children are split among extended family. Kate, the eldest girl, struggles to hold on to her siblings while living at times with an aunt she's been taught to see as meddling. What she learns in her aunt's house, tempered by the tragedy of her mother's death (by suicide, in a harrowing scene) and her father's final abandonment, allows Kate to accept that the individual needs of her siblings are complex and perhaps best met by the ring of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and community. It is this, not her mother's physical ring, that signals her maturation and softens her heart. Grassby's portrait of the urban and rural communities of Nova Scotia are filled with details of a bygone era, but astute readers will see contemporary echoes in Kate's tribulations. For collections where historical fiction is appreciated.
Kirkus Reviews
A Canadian girl endures hardship and struggles in her 14th year. Kate's the oldest of six children in a Catholic family living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in 1925. Ever since her mother came down with tuberculosis a year ago, her father's been drinking the family into ruin. When he loses his job as a bakery delivery driver, the family relocates to his parents' remote farm, then returns as her mother's health worsens. And then another catastrophe strikes. Kate tries to keep charge of her siblings, but eventually they're farmed out to other family members, and Kate's father sells the titular ring, which was her mother's. Much happens, and the characters move around a lot, but they never really come to life—Kate's brothers in particular seem interchangeable—and a lot of the emotion in the story feels forced. Though the action is told from Kate's first-person perspective, readers never fully understand what she most deeply wants, or why, and while the setting is carefully drawn, it feels more like a memory than a lived-in place. Kate's voice is appropriately antique: Her mother's illness is "consumption," she has a "pal" named Grace, and she is mindful of "proper" behavior. All characters adhere to a white default.Bleak and, unfortunately, not particularly compelling. (Historical fiction. 10-12)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (3/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 7-12

"Grassby's portrait of the urban and rural communities of Nova Scotia are filled with details of a bygone era, but astute readers will see contemporary echoes in Kate's tribulations." <br > --Booklist

"Kate's Ring is a marvellous story, a modern day Anne of Green Gables, gritty, sometimes desperate, tender, and in the end triumphant. It tears at your heart." <br > --Sandra Birdsell

An industrial town where smoke laden with reddish-orange dust from the steel plant darkens the sky. A place where it's not easy to raise a family, especially one with its fair share of problems. But thirteen-year-old Kate takes on the responsibility and tries to keep her embattled family going. And it's Kate, in the end, who thinks she can get her parents, her brothers and sisters through heartbreak and tragedy.

Set in a hardscrabble East Coast town in the 1920's, Donna Grassby's novel paints a vivid portrait of people in crisis, exploring issues as relevant today as they were then. The resolution leans as much on hope as it does on family.

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