This is my second reading of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s historical novel Fall On Your Knees and I enjoyed the page turner just as much as the first time. The story is basically a saga of the Piper family living in New Waterford, a small village in Cape Breton Island during the early part of the 20th century. The setting is ordinary but the characters certainly aren’t. When James Piper’s wife commits suicide after the death of their daughter and grandchild, he brings up his three remaining daughters on his own away from prying eyes. It is a story of harsh love and abuse. The girls must find their way through the brutal reality of living with a parent who claims to have one good daughter, one bad daughter, and one angelic one. Each one must eventually fall on her knees before escaping from the tyranny of his love. The plot is complex and compelling and the storytelling brilliantly executed. I wondered though at the backstory, a journal written by the eldest daughter, Kathleen, added to the end of the novel. It explained a crucial scene that occurred almost in the mid-section of the plot. Whatever the reason, this is without a doubt, a great read.
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