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This Godforsaken Place by Cinda Gault (2015)

gaultAlthough I am Canadian, I went to high school overseas and had a very vague understanding about Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont when I started reading This Godforsaken Place. Like other bloggers I had to Google these historical figures to better understand their role in Canadian history.

THE AUTHOR
Cinda Gault holds a PhD in Canadian national identity issues in women’s writing of the 1960s and 1970s. She teaches and writes about Canadian literature.

THE STORY
After the death of her mother in England, Abigail Peacock migrates to Canada with her father to begin a new life. However, the small town in northern Ontario quickly proves to be too claustrophobic for Abigail’s taste and she longs to be free to live a different life. Abigail continues to be a dutiful daughter, particularly when her father becomes ill and she is forced to take care of him. At the suggestion of Lars, the town’s founder who has taken a keen interest in her, she buys a gun for protection. Learning how to shoot gives Abigail a new lease on life and it becomes the highlight of her day. It’s during her shooting practice out in the wilderness that she discovers a severely injured man and his horse hiding in the bushes. Obvious to her as some kind of criminal, Abigail tries to ignore him. Little does she know this stranger is going to send her on an adventure that will see her travel to new places, make new friends and completely change the direction of her life.

THE GOOD
This Godforsaken Place is a historical adventure featuring a strong, female character. I particularly liked how Canadian and American history crosses over in the story and all of the real-life figures of significance who were characters, such as Annie Oakley and Gabriel Dumont.

THE BAD
I felt the story became muddled with the chapters dedicated to Gabriel Dumont, the Métis leader and rebel who fought alongside Louis Riel to preserve Métis rights and culture in Canada. The chapters provide Dumont’s historical background leading up to his joining Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. As fascinating as this history is, I don’t believe it added anything to Abigail’s story, and maybe even detracted from it.

CONCLUSION
This Godforsaken Place is a remarkable story about takings chances and living life outside of the ordinary. The author mentions in an interview she was surprised to see how the Jesse James gang’s antics and Louis Riel’s rebellion were so close to each other geographically, and she went on to discover many other historical connections that delightfully come together in this book.

NOTE
I received a copy of This Godforsaken Place with much thanks to Brindle & Glass, but this in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in my review.

4/5 Stars

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14 comments on “This Godforsaken Place by Cinda Gault (2015)

  1. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
    August 26, 2015

    I do love the adventure of a good western, and this sounds like it would fit the bill for me. I’m not really familiar with Dumont and that part of Canadian history too, so that will be interesting to read about I think, even if it might detract from the story. I’m glad this was a good read for you!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      August 26, 2015

      The story definitely has a western feel, but without the machismo and that was appealing to me as well. Sad to say, I was not very knowledgeable about Riel or Dumont at all, so I think I have more reading to do.

      Like

  2. Naomi
    August 26, 2015

    I like that you point out how Canadian and American history cross over in this story. I always have them separate in my mind, but, really there must be so much crossing over.
    Thanks for linking to my interview!
    What would you have done if you were Abigail? 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      August 27, 2015

      I think Abigail longed for adventure and to get out of the monotony of her life. If I were Abigail, I would definitely have taken the money and tried to complete Shep January’s request. But Abigail seemed to care deeply about doing the “right thing” by the Pinkerton and I think I would have just shrugged it off. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Brian Joseph
    August 27, 2015

    I had to Google Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont myself. They seemed to be interesting characters involved in interesting history.

    This sounds very good. However I think that I would want to become a little more versed in the real historical background before I read it.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      August 27, 2015

      The history of Louis Riel is definitely fascinating I think not only because of the impact of his rebellion on Canada, but because of his unique style of protest and the way he conveyed his beliefs. He really seemed to challenge how Canadians viewed Métis rights and culture, and how the government treated the First Nations of Canada.

      Like

  4. Rick MacDonnell
    August 27, 2015

    It’s about time novelists started tackling the more interesting, gripping parts of Canadian history. I feel like The Orenda was just the tip of the iceberg. This Godforsaken Place seems to be a step in the right direction. Adding it to the TBR! Thanks for the review.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      August 28, 2015

      Thank you so much! I like what you said about authors writing more about the not-so-nice side of Canadian history. It would be so great if Cinda Gault wrote a novel about Riel and Dumont. It’s clear she thoroughly researched this part of history and could probably write a very compelling story.

      Like

  5. Freda Labianca
    August 28, 2015

    Being Métis, the history there intrigues me most. I love how you explained the good, the bad and the ugly of the book. Fab review!

    Freda’s Voice

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      August 30, 2015

      Thank you! The history really is intriguing and I think Cinda Gault could probably write a very interesting novel if she decided to write about this time in Canadian history.

      Like

  6. TJ @ MyBookStrings
    September 4, 2015

    Somehow, I missed your review of this book. I think we pretty much agree on it. It was so interesting for me to read about Canadian history, and I had a lot of fun studying maps while reading to see exactly where Abigail was going.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 6, 2015

      What a great idea, I never thought to look at a map of Abigail’s journey. That would make a great addition to a future reprinting of the book.

      Like

  7. DoingDewey
    September 15, 2015

    I feel like I’ve read several mixed reviews of this book, but I think the historical setting is interesting enough that I’d like to give it a try.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      September 16, 2015

      I think the historical setting and figures really do make the story entertaining and fun to read. I hope you enjoy the book if you get the chance to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 26, 2015 by in Reviews and tagged , .

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