If you’re a fan of books that blend well-developed characters and story lines that shine a light on some of history’s darker moments, you’ll want to put a hold on Looking For Jane, the impressive debut by Canadian author Heather Marshall. This story is set in Toronto and features three women whose lives are connected by a long-lost letter, secrets, loss, and their fight for a woman’s right to choose.
These women – Angela, Evelyn, and Nancy – live in Toronto in the 1970s, 1980s and 2010s, and while initially strangers, are brought together by a letter that is accidentally found in an antique store. Through their experiences, struggles, limitations, and complex family lives, readers are pulled into a story that doesn’t shy away from detailing what life was like for women in Canada during those decades; times when women’s decisions regarding pregnancy and childbirth were at the mercy of government laws, societal mores, and church-run maternity homes for unwed mothers. Well-researched and emotional in tone, Marshall vividly illustrates the human toll of restrictions placed on reproductive choice.
This is an engaging, thought-provoking, and powerful fictional story that highlights a dark part of Canadian history – a time when women had no voice, no choice, and no rights to make decisions affecting their bodies. This must-read story honours the women who have come before us, who faced limited options but whose strength and tenacity give today’s women the right to choose. A perfect pick for fans of Genevieve Graham or Joanna Goodman, Looking For Jane is a story that will create excellent book club discussion. You can now place a hold on this book in anticipation of its March 1st release date.