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The Holding Merilyn Simonds

The Holding

Merilyn Simonds

Published
ISBN : 9780771080654
Hardcover
320 pages
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 About the Book 

Merilyn Simonds is already known for her bestselling nonfiction book The Convict Lover, inspired by a secret cache of love letters she found in the attic of her Kingston home. Her lushly written and intricately researched first novel revolves aroundMoreMerilyn Simonds is already known for her bestselling nonfiction book The Convict Lover, inspired by a secret cache of love letters she found in the attic of her Kingston home. Her lushly written and intricately researched first novel revolves around the discovery of yet another set of enigmatic writings from the past. Alyson Thomson has relocated from the city to an isolated farmhouse in southeastern Ontario with her lover, Walker Freeman, a moody if gifted potter. Determined to shed the memories of her own difficult childhood, she respects Walkers refusal to say anything about his earlier life and focuses instead on creating an idyllic new world for them both--tending to her small gardening business and awaiting the birth of their first child. When tragedy strikes, Alyson seeks solace among the ruins of a deserted herb garden on the edge of their property. There she happens across a sort of cookbook cum murder confession, penned by Margaret MacBayne, one of the holdings original pioneers. The Holding is one of those prescient novels in which very little and a great deal seem about to happen at any time. Simonds has a poets eye for the sensuality of the natural world and her emotionally charged imagery is often breathtaking (she stood at the window ... unable to bear the sight of the concrete patio, its burden of crackling leaves). The chapters devoted to Margaret MacBaynes experiences in the 1860s have an authentic ring of emotional restraint and contribute nicely to the novels sense of foreboding. Some of Simondss choices regarding structure and pacing, however, sap her narrative of its full power. For example, the two most climactic events of the novel occur halfway through, so that by the time Walkers dubious past is finally uncovered, much of the dramatic tension has dissipated. Its as if Simonds had the seeds of a good story but was uncertain about where to plant them. --Lisa Alward