In her memoir I’ll Tell You a Secret: A Memory of Seven Summers (McClelland & Stewart), Anne Coleman examines the trajectory of her life as a young woman in the 1950s. She was a bookish, privileged girl growing up in the lakeside village of North Hatley, Quebec, when not attending boarding schools, and her closest friend was Hugh McLennan, who took her ideas and her writing seriously. Even though he was several decades older than Coleman, the two maintained an intense relationship until her disastrous marriage.
The prose is slow and languorous and the events seem dreamlike—even to the author, who cannot stop herself from making bad decisions. I enjoyed this glimpse of cottage life, where one follows the local club tennis championships and sails the lakes in summer squalls.
The book is thin on substance, but it evokes a long-faded world, lost like childhood itself.