• Publication date: 30 Jan 2018
• Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS
• Language: English
I’m really privileged to be on the blog tour for such a lovely book. With thanks to Orenda publisher Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my ARC copy and my place on the tour
We Were The Salt Of The Sea is translated by David Warrinor
As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky… Both a dark and consuming crime thriller and a lyrical, poetic ode to the sea, We Were the Salt of the Sea is a stunning, page-turning novel, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
A section about the economy of the Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula area from Wikipedia explains:
The economy of the peninsula has historically been focused on fishing, agriculture and forestry. However, primary resource based industries are suffering due to overfishing, overexploitation and fewer numbers of farmers in business, forcing the region to move towards tourism and the services industry.
With any Orenda book title we are certainly taken to some interesting parts of the world and this beautiful book is no exception. With such a stunning book cover and description. I couldn’t wait to read this book. As I was reading along, I became fascinated by the area and looked up details to learn more about it.
(Anyone who enjoyed The Shipping News by Annie Proulx would love this one!)
Set in a remote part of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula and rich in description of this area that largely consists of indigenous fishing communities sea-soaked in tradition, superstition and seafaring folklore. Each family has their share of tragedy and stories of their losses and sacrifices to the sea.
Their official language is French-Canadian, but the older locals and fishing community speak with a local québécois patois that can be amusing and beguiling in translation.
After her legal guardians have both died, Catherine Day from Montreal arrives in the area looking for her natural birth mother, a Marie Garant.
Catherine’s visit coincides with the discovery of the body of a female in her sixties in the sea in fishing nets by local fishermen that turns out to be the woman she’s looking for – her mother.
With more than one of the local fishermen with a historic romantic attachment to the once beautiful Marie, there are layers of mystery. Not only for Catherine to find out who her real father was, but for new to the area Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales to try to find out what happened to Marie Garant, a well travelled, experienced sailor.
An accident with an unsecured boom seems to be too easy a conclusion to draw and Detective Morales, with marital problems occupying his mind, has to concentrate on the case to find out the truth.
The narrative goes back in time for a few chapters back to 1970, then forward to the present day. The story is unravelled using various people to narrate the circumstances.
I couldn’t put this lovely book down. I’ve lived by the sea for most of my life, am endlessly fascinated by the it and this book was a real treasure to read.
Enchanting, beguiling and I hope there are more of the same from this author.
About the Author
Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspe Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. We Were the Salt of the Sea is her fifth novel, and her first to be translated into English. She lives in Quebec
Follow the rest of the blog tour