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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
A Gift of Scars is a work of historical fiction and personal drama by author Gregg Norman. Set during the darkness and desperation of The Dirty Thirties, this slice of life drama follows the trials, hardships and occasional successes of Martin Wheeler, who goes from riches to rags when he is thrown out of his wealthy father’s Montreal home. So begins a journey to learn about the real world and its struggles, with fascinating characters along the way and scenes from the North American railroads. Martin finds love on his journey, and a series of crimes brought about by the Great Depression.
Author Gregg Norman writes with all the political clarity and emotional sincerity of a modern-day Steinbeck in this masterpiece of a novel. There’s wry humor when he pokes fun at the class system Martin comes from, but also real respect for the characters he has created and their struggles as individuals living through some of the hardest times the world has ever seen. I loved the narration, smoothly detailed and rich with emotion, as well as the portrayal of Martin and how he changes so profoundly as the novel progresses. The gang of hobos who adopt him were charming, but also dangerous and exciting to read about, and their backdrop of railroads and dark city corners really brought the 1930s to life on every page. Overall, A Gift of Scars is a superb work which is sure to impress and envelop all historical fiction fans.