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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Clara's sister is missing. Angry, rebellious Rose had a row with their mother, stormed out of the house and simply disappeared. Eight-year-old Clara, isolated by her distraught parents' efforts to protect her from the truth, is grief-stricken and bewildered.

Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, moves into the house next door, a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember and within hours gets a visit from the police. It seems he's suspected of a crime.

At the end of her life Elizabeth Orchard is thinking about a crime too, one committed 30 years ago that had tragic consequences for two families and in particular for one small child. She desperately wants to make amends before she dies.

Set in Northern Ontario in 1972, A Town Called Solace explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. By turns gripping and darkly funny, it uncovers the layers of grief and remorse and love that connect us, but shows that sometimes a new life is possible.

©2021 Mary Lawson (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"I've been trying to tell everyone I know about Mary Lawson.... Each one of her novels is just a marvel." (Anne Tyler) 

What listeners say about A Town Called Solace

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Brilliantly real!

I absolutely loved this and will look out for this Canadian novelist Mary Lawson who was new to me.

It's set in cold, snowy, windy, chilly northern Canada (there's a lot about the cold outside - a metaphor perhaps) in sparsely populated Solace where everyone knows what everyone does or has done. What is so distinctive and accomplished is that the three main characters in the threads of the story which are intertwined are from different generations - elderly widowed Mrs Orchard now in hospital dying, Liam who Mrs Orchard and her husband used to look after when a child and to whom Mrs Orchard has left her house is in his 30s and Clara - living next door to Mrs Orchard and looking after her cat whilst she is in hospital and whose 16 year-old tearaway sister Rose has gone missing - is 8 years old. The achievement is in the way the author gets inside the minds and life experiences of each one with infinite poignancy and understanding making them startlingly real and whole, even the minor characters who play their parts. I can't say more without giving away these deftly plaited stories - but it is compulsive and deeply moving. The very last sentence is a complete surprise because it is suddenly the end with all the threads not tied up. But I think that last sentence is positive and promises comfort - see what you think!

The narration is excellent (each of these three narrating their own sections) - Mrs Orchard who longed for a child of her own is achingly moving as she reviews her life, and Clara is fantastic (narrators being children can be disastrous) as a feisty, confused child desperately missing her adored sister and finding solace in the cat she's looking after.

5 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Absolutely loved this book and it is one I will listen to again and recommend

2 people found this helpful

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Read or Listen to This

Highly recommend this on all counts. I’m now going to go to all the other books written by this author. Absolutely hooked me in.

1 person found this helpful

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Really lovely story

This book is beautifully written and beautifully read. It’s a very gentle story about growing up and about the need for connection with other people and how that anchors us. I loved it

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Remote volume control needed.

I'm sure that this would be a good audio book BUT why oh why do they not check audio levels when it's being recorded. I very soon tired of jumping to reduce the volume , especially when the 8 year old is shrieking!. Have given up , just too stressful.

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Great story

Interesting tale very well told. The characters are fascinating and very likeable. Mary Lawson is an excellent author.

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I loved this book

Beautifully written and read. It reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Strout stories. If you enjoy those, you would enjoy this. My first listen by this author. I look forward to reading more.

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Another great story from Mary Lawson

Beautifully read, a gripping heartfelt story. The characters come alive and I reallt loved it!

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Engrossing

Wonderful book beautifully narrated
Having greatly enjoyed The Other Side of The Bridge by Mary Lawson I was delighted to find A Town Called Solace
Highly recommend both

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Like a delicious layer cake

Wow! I enjoyed this so much . A book with three layers which blend and bind together as the story unfolds. Beautiful narration. A gentle unfolding , marvellous writing and much to grip and keep the reader engrossed as the characters develop. I love Carol Shields and Jane Gardam and now Mary Lawson .