by Sara Lee Burke
Girls born first are unlucky. If they are born into poverty and addiction, they are unluckier still.
Easter Water is the story of a firstborn girl, forced to grow up too soon and sacrifice too much. Hilma spends her days in a logging camp kitchen taking care of her younger siblings. Her parents, exhausted by long days filled with hard work and consumed by their own problems, have little left for their children.
But there are angels among us, and Hilma finds them. Henri and Helen provide a refuge, until jealousy and anger put an end to it. Clairvoyant Sister Nicole allows Hilma to claim as her own, some surprisingly prophetic visions. And Cook is her champion, insisting she get the only thing she has ever dared to want.
The devastation of the Great Depression and fear of impending war compound the family's struggles, as they try to survive in the lumber camps of Quebec and small town Northern Ontario. Torn between protecting those she loves and saving herself, Hilma makes a heartbreaking decision, and comes to understand we make our own luck.
Easter Water is rich in the history of the period and the nostalgia of life far removed from the way we live today. It is a funny and touching look back, with lessons about courage and faith to guide our looking forward.