Kit's Law) once again takes readers to a fishing community on the coast of Newfoundland. There, life for the Gal"/>
 

DOWNHILL CHANCE

Donna Morrissey, Author
Donna Morrissey, Author . Houghton Mifflin/Mariner $24 (448p) ISBN 978-0-618-18927-4
Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Paperback - 430 pages - 978-0-14-303360-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1701-9
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-547-34712-7
Paperback - 435 pages - 978-0-14-317033-4
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Morrissey's sprawling second novel (after Kit's Law) once again takes readers to a fishing community on the coast of Newfoundland. There, life for the Gale family is disrupted when father Job Gale decides to enlist as a soldier in WWII. His eldest daughter, Clair, still a girl, takes on the tasks he left behind, caring for her younger sister, Missy, and her mother, Sare, who is undone by Job's absence. Things don't get much easier when Job returns, discharged after a shrapnel injury. He is shell-shocked, depressed and prone to fits. These events are told from the point of view of Clair, who becomes a teacher and marries the son of another local family, Luke Osmond. Woven in with the Gales' story is that of the O'Maras, Irish immigrants who wash ashore after a shipwreck. The second half of the novel shifts to the point of view of Hannah, Clair's daughter, who describes the scandal that Missy causes when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock, as well as the revelations about Job's military service that emerge after his death. With vivid imagery and a fantastic ear for dialect, Morrissey breathes life into the small harbor town, where gossiping neighbors and eccentrics are a small price to pay for the comforts of living in a place where everyone knows one another. The novel is overstuffed with plot turns and family melodrama, but Morrissey keeps the story moving at a pleasant clip; readers may lose track of subplots, but they won't be bored. Agent, Beverley Slopen. (July 15)

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