Patrick Gale has conveyed exceptionally well how harsh life was for new settlers in this cold, isolated part of Canada. I was so moved reading of Harry’s interaction with his neighbours Paul and Petra Slaymaker from when they first meet, to nursing him through a dangerous fever through to deeper bonds forming. Without writing directly of his characters emotions, such is Gale’s skill that you can sense their sadness, loneliness and yearning for affection. How is it that he can use so few words to convey so much meaning? This is a beautifully written novel and I cannot recommend it highly enough – a 5* read and I think it will be hard to find a better book this year.

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