The Quarryman's Girl

A Novel

Fiction - Literary
281 Pages
Reviewed on 04/25/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

In Melanie Forde's latest work, The Quarryman's Girl, readers are transported into a world of heartrending family dynamics, the power of forgiveness, and the struggles of aging. The protagonist, Rose Dowd, must navigate her twilight years with the aid of her youngest son Vince after her husband's passing. As her memory starts to falter, Rose is confronted with the traumas of her past and must come to terms with her estranged sister Izzy, who she was left with in Quincy when her family migrated to Manitoba. Enter Nate, the ragman's son, who arrives to assist Rose with handyman tasks while also keeping Vince apprised of her forgetfulness. Meanwhile, Izzy's personal crisis threatens to expose the deep-seated conflict that fractured the sisters' bond years before.

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie Forde is a historical novel with several converging themes, some nuanced and others intentionally presented, that enable readers to become acquainted with each character and empathize with familiar figures. The story is poignant, exploring the emotional complexities of familial and friendly bonds, encompassing love, injury, and physical and mental limitations of its characters while portraying senior cognitive degeneration honestly. The scenes are meticulously drawn and border on the cinematic, bringing to life the landscape with prose like, “Random shafts of sunlight penetrated the depths and allowed a distorted view of the massive rock walls all around.” The book is rich in emotion, with raw and humorous moments that alternate. The writing style is perceptive, sophisticated, and eloquent with a closing that is certain to elicit a deeply moving response. Very highly recommended.