Wednesday, August 31, 2022

New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

After the local French teacher scandalizes the fishing village of Little Cove, Newfoundland, by running off with a priest, the school looks to the mainland to fill the job quickly. They want someone who can uphold their Catholic values and keep a motley group of largely unwilling students in line.

The position is filled by mainlander Rachel O’Brien—technically a Catholic (baptized!), technically a teacher (honors degree!)—who’s desperate to leave her current mess of a life behind. She isn’t surprised that her students don’t see the value of learning French. But she is surprised that she can barely understand their English… Is it a compliment or insult to be called a sleeveen? (Insult.) And the anonymous notes left on her car, telling her to go home, certainly don’t help to make her feel welcome.

Still, she is quickly drawn into the island’s traditional music and culture, and into the personal lives of her crusty but softhearted landlady, Lucille, her reluctant students and her fellow teacher Doug Bishop. But when her beliefs clash with church and community, she makes a decision that throws her career into jeopardy. In trying to help a student, has she gone too far?

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 11th 2021
 by Graydon House 
4/5 stars

New Girl in Little Cove was a fun and charming read, actually I ended up listening to most of it. Marnye Young is the narrator, who did a great job not just with the story but with the dialect and accents transmitting that Newfoundland feeling.

This book is about Rachel, a teacher from Toronto as she begins teaching high school in Little Cove, a factitious town in Newfoundland. The 1985 setting was a treat - no cell phones or internet to cause distractions, but rather highlights not just the time but the place and the people in this tight knit community.

This one year was at times funny as Rachel learns the lay of the land with some quirky characters and traditions.  It isn't always easy and real life does intervene with controversy, romance and even a tad mystery.  I enjoyed my time listening to this well written debut.  A sweet story that had me smiling at some of the expressions and language I am not used to. This book has left me with a craving for fish and chips and listening to some funky music.

My thanks to the bookish community on IG for bringing this book to my attention.  I purchased it which means this was part of my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge - #61

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