On the Shores of Darkness, There is Light has been waiting on my bedside table since April. I had picked up the novel at the GritLit festival, in Hamilton, after meeting Michael Winter (who’s book Minister Without Portfolio had been part of the 2016 Canada Reads). Once I learned that Cordelia Strube would be part of the Grimsby Author Series, I restrained myself and postponed my reading so that the book would be fresh in my mind for the January 2017 event.
Having family that live near Algonquin Park and paint in the style of Tom Thomson, I was intrigued with the back cover which described the story of a Harriet, a girl who planned to run away to live in a cabin, in the Park, like Tom Thomson. Harriet felt neglected. Her mother was distracted by her brother Irwin who had seizures related to hydrocephalus. She hated her mother’s boyfriend, Gennedy. If I can ask the author one question – I do want to know about the origin of this name!
Living at the Shangrila low income apartments, Harriet earned money running errands for the seniors in the building. While she lacked in attention from her own mother, she built relationships with a motley group of seniors pocketing her earnings in preparation for running away. The seniors depended on her running to the store and fixing their technology while she enjoyed their attention.
To ensure that there are no spoilers, I will end my review except to say that the book was not what I was expecting. I think it would be well-suited for a YA audience in dealing with coming of age issues. It is well-written, detailed and the story is unique unlike some of the cookie cutter YA novels. I am looking forward to meeting Strube early in the new year and hope that my daughter will read this book next.