In 1930, the Great Depression has relentlessly battered the Canadian economy for five years, impoverishing most and destroying many. Bessie Barnes, a determined farmer’s wife in Ontario, has watched the world around her fall apart, knowing the worst could come to her family after her husband is injured. It’s not the life Bessie imagined for herself when she graduated school to be a teacher, but when she’s made secretary of the Women’s Institute, she’s given the chance to sow change into the world little by little.
Then she meets her brother-in-law for the first time—and discovers he’s Ed, the man she fell in love with when she was just nineteen years old. The man who changed everything. A recently impoverished Ph.D. graduate, Ed became radicalized, the voice of a new political movement, and threatens to upend Bessie’s carefully constructed life with every word out of his mouth.
Ed shows her children there’s more to life than farm work, and shows Bessie that, although years may have passed, their mutual attraction hasn’t faded. Yet when Ed’s past catches up with him and his present with Bessie begins to implode, it leads to an altercation no one can return from. And soon, every careful plan Bessie made is uprooted, tearing her children away from her on the cusp of the greatest war the world has ever seen.
Told in alternating points of view and follows the story of Bessie and those closest to her. I believe it will appeal to fans of Anne-Marie MacDonald’s “FALL ON YOUR KNEES” Amor Towles’s “A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW” and Jonathon Franzen’s “CROSSROADS.”