A novel of orphans and widows, terror and hope, and the relationships that hold us together when things fall apart.
With murder dominating the news, the respected wife of a New Brunswick sea captain is drawn into the case of a British home child whose bad luck has turned worse. Mortified that she must purchase the girl in a pauper auction to save her from the lechery of wealthy townsmen, Josephine Galloway finds herself suddenly the proprietor of a boarding house kept afloat by the sweat and tears of a curious and not completely compatible collection of women, including this English teenager, Flora Salford. Flora's place in her new "family" cannot be complete until she rescues the missing person in her life, the only one who understands the trials she has come through and fresh horrors met since they were separated years before.
Reconnecting with characters of Beth Powning's beloved The Sea Captain's Wife, The Sister's Tale is a story of women finding their way, together, through terrible circumstances they could neither predict nor avoid, but will stop at nothing to overcome.
About the Author
BETH POWNING's previous books include the bestselling novels The Hatbox Letters, The Sea Captain's Wife, and most recently A Measure of Light, a Globe and Mail Best Book and winner of the inaugural New Brunswick Book Award for Fiction. Her works of memoir include Seeds of Another Summer: Finding the Spirit of Home in Nature, Shadow Child: An Apprenticeship in Love and Loss, and Edge Seasons: A Mid-Life Year. In 2010, Beth was awarded New Brunswick's Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievement in English-Language Literary Arts. She lives on a 300-acre farm near Sussex, New Brunswick, with her husband, the renowned sculptor Peter Powning.
“Powning’s approach to historical fiction is, as ever, tactile and immersive.” —The Globe and Mail
“Beth Powning is one of Canada’s most prolific writers. . . . Her latest epic is a sprawling tale . . . [that] bring[s] back beloved characters from her lauded 2007 masterpiece The Sea Captain’s Wife. . . . Both well researched and deliciously entertaining, this book finds Powning at the top of her game.” —The Maritime Edit
“Beautifully crafted, The Sister’s Tale transports us to the very heart of Victorian New Brunswick, leaving us richer for what we have seen there: the strength and courage of its women.” —Eva Stachniak, author of The Chosen Maiden
“Beth Powning is one helluva good writer.” —Donna Morrissey, author of Sylvanus Now
“Meticulously researched and masterfully crafted, Beth Powning’s The Sister’s Tale is a captivating, unforgettable read. Populated with compelling, tenacious and relatable characters, this book is a potent reminder that meaningful change can start with a single voice.” —Ami McKay, bestselling author of The Birth House
“The Sister’s Tale transforms a nineteenth-century household into the stage for a gripping high-stakes saga: a story of inheritance and courage that clamours for you to turn yet another page. I savoured it like a bottomless hot toddy.” —Sean Michaels, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of Us Conductors and The Wagers
“The Sister’s Tale is a mesmerizing story of loss, betrayal, and the strength to not only find hope amid the ashes, but rise from them. Beth Powning’s lyrical style breaks and mends hearts in equal measure. I found it very difficult to put this novel down. Highly recommend!” —Genevieve Graham, bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child
“In Beth Powning’s newest novel, we enter a world where pauper auctions leave the most vulnerable for sale and women are non-persons in the eyes of the law. Set in Maritime Canada in the late 1880s, The Sister’s Tale brilliantly balances storytelling with keen insight into the gender politics, society and culture of the time. For many, this novel will introduce new and disturbing aspects of Canadian history. Suspenseful and thought-provoking, The Sister’s Tale resonates with relevance during our current times of political and societal challenges, and ultimately illuminates the timeless role of friendship and family. A highly recommended read.” —Ann Yu-Kyung Choi, author of Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety
“Beth Powning has done it again. This time shedding light on a shameful slice of Canadian history––New Brunswick’s pauper auctions. The novel introduces us to an unorthodox household of nineteenth-century women and girls struggling to survive and thrive in a world dominated by men. Powning’s prose shimmers. Her characters come vividly to life in this tale of sisterhood, female friendship, and the power of love and loss.” —Cecily Ross, author of The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie