Sunday, October 31, 2010

SANCTUARY LINE by Jane Urquhart (2010) McClelland & Stewart

Set today SANCTUARY LINE follows Liz Crane, an entomologist, who moves back to the family farmhouse where she spent most of her childhood summers in southwestern Ontario. Liz is there for pragmatic and personal reasons: she will be monitoring the Monarch butterfly colony nearby and trying to cope with the recent loss of her cousin Amanda, a skilled military strategist killed recently while serving in Afghanistan.

Just being in this particular place cracks wide Liz's memories of her formative years growing up with her cousins, reminding her of the stories that her uncle told of previous generations of lighthouse keepers and the Mexican workers who laboured throughout the orchards at harvest time. Liz is especially haunted by her recollection of a young Mexican named Teo, the son of the foreman Dolores, who held a special place in Liz's heart.

With the begrudging help of her mother, Liz is able to reconstruct the events of the final summer in the farmhouse, the summer that became the turning point for both her and Amanda in the way they were able to see truth for the first time. There are secrets broken and kept and it's only through forgiveness that Liz manages to understand why the people she loves made the choices they did.

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