Melissa Hardy Surface Rights

ISBN 13: 9781459707153

Surface Rights

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9781459707153: Surface Rights

An unexpected conflict forces Verna to re-examine her life.

What was it Donald used to say? "When it comes to children, you pay now or pay later. You never don’t pay."

Middle-aged Verna Macoun Woodcock returns to the family cottage for the first time in 38 years to scatter the ashes of her husband, father, and twin sister. At first she is alone except for her dad’s dog, the lake, bitter memories, and a barely hidden drinking problem. But soon Verna is forced to open up her tightly shut world to others: strong-willed handywoman Winonah; the neglected children of her sister, each lost and broken in their own way; even the ghost of Winonah’s dead brother, Lionel, who can’t seem to make it to the Sky World.

Just as Verna is starting to accept this newfound family, she discovers a menacing prospector who posts a notice on the cottage door, stating his intention to dig for ore. As it turns out, the Macouns hold the surface rights for the land, but not the mineral rights. For the first time in her life, Verna has something to fight for and family at stake.

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About the Author:

Melissa Hardy has published three novels and two collections of short stories, including Broken Road, The Uncharted Heart, and A Cry of Bees. She has won the Journey Prize and been published in numerous journals, including The Atlantic, Exile, and Descant. She lives in the village of Port Stanley, Ontario.

From Publishers Weekly:

Widowed retiree Verna Woodcock returns to her family's cottage, north of the Arctic Watershed line, bearing the ashes of three people: her philandering husband, Robert; her father, Donald; and her eccentric sister, Fern. Once at the cottage, she is unexpectedly reunited with Fern's children—relatives Verna has not seen in decades, thanks to madcap Fern's carefree and careless ways. More ominously, J.R.—Fern's unlovable ex-beau—appears with designs on the mineral rights on Verna's land and an intimate connection to Fern's horrific death, the revelation of which will provide the newly reunited family with an unanticipated opportunity to bond. Many of Hardy's characters bear the scars of deep psychological damage, but they are also amiable; the novel appears to be one part Arsenic and Old Lace and several parts doleful CBC radio drama. The resulting mélange is more comic than one might expect. Hardy (Broken Road) embraces her Canadian setting, and although her characters are drawn in broad, simplistic lines, the resulting tale of reconnection and personal growth through furtive burials is amusing. Agent: Bill Hanna, Acacia House Publishing Services. (Dec.)

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