From Bruised Fell

Patty Osborne

From Bruised Fell by Jane Finlay-Young (Viking) is a dark and unrelenting story of two sisters whose lives are dominated by their crazy mother, who abandoned them years ago but who still haunts their thoughts. The older sister, Missy, narrates the story, which takes her and her sister Ruby and their parents back and forth between England and Canada a few times before their mother leaves them in a small town in England and their father takes them back to Canada. Missy is old enough to understand that there is something wrong with her mother, but Ruby isn’t: she never stops questioning why their mother left them and she takes it out on herself. Throughout all this the children appear to be living a simple, small-town Canadian life, complete with mosquitoes, cocktail hour, burgers on the barbecue and a stepmother named Cerise. There’s not much to lift the spirits in this dark tale, but what kept me reading was Finlay-Young’s excellent writing and the authentic and believable child’s view that Missy gives us, not only of her unfortunate mother but also of her bewildered and passive father.

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