Maud and Me, by Marianne Jones
“Maud and Me” would appeal to fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery, as well as people with an interest in how traditional societal pressures have shaped, and continue to shape, expectations on women. For those who love the natural geography of rural Canada, this story will appeal, with its descriptions of northwestern Ontario and the stark, amazing north shore of Lake Superior.
In the early 1980’s, the women’s movement hasn’t yet reached conservative Northwestern Ontario. Nicole deals with her frustrations through her painting and subversive sense of humour, even as she tries outwardly to please everyone: her well-meaning husband Adam, her angry, distant mother, and the congregation of Marathon Community Fellowship. When she becomes desperate for someone who understands, Maud shows up in her garden. Over cups of tea and long drives along the north shore of Lake Superior, they compare notes and hilarious observations about congregational life. But then news of her father’s death and the discovery of her mother’s betrayal drive Nicole to question everything about her family, her life, and even Maud.
|Dimensions||5.5 × 0.6 × 8.5 cm|
Some of my favourite novels make me forget that what I’m reading is fiction. Marianne Jones’s most recent book, Maud and Me, is such a book. She conveys the mysterious magnetism of the North Shore environment, including the dynamics of small communities. In addition she captures the complexity of the social and spiritual life in a small church. The characters emerge in this setting as multidimensional and authentic people plunged into sometimes troubled relational waters – waters every bit as unpredictable and confusing as Lake Superior can be. The ghostly appearance of Maud (Lucy Maud Montgomery) seems to flow quite naturally as Nicole navigates the channels and shoals of perceptions of her life as ‘the minister’s wife’, while also painting and figuring out her personal identity.