4 May 2023

We Can(ada) Read: LOOKING FOR JANE by Heather Marshall

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Author: Heather Marshall
Series: N/A
Source: Audible
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2022

Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:
Representation: N/A

A debut about three women whose lives are bound together by a long-lost letter, a mother’s love, and a secret network of women fighting for the right to choose—inspired by true stories.

2017: When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane.

1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.

1980: After discovering a shocking secret about her family, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.
Amazon | Chapters
Content Warningabortion, suicide, suicide attempt, pregnancy, miscarriage, forced institutionalization, medical trauma, death, emotional abuse, infertility, grief, sexual violence, misogyny, religious bigotry, abandonment, cancer, police brutality, child trafficking.

Looking for Jane is a historical fiction novel based on the real Jane Collective, an underground network of courageous women, including some doctors and nurses, who provided safe abortions in the late 60s, 70s and early 80s.

The novel takes place mostly in Toronto Ontario (Canada), but partly in Ottawa Ontario and follows three women in different timelines, from about 1960 to 2017, whose lives become entwined. Be aware that there is mention of abortion and suicide but as the author says, the book is "about motherhood".

This is an absolutely amazing debut novel which I highly recommend no matter what your views are. The writing is fantastic and incidents have a ring of truth to them since the author did extensive research into maternity homes, abortion, and the effect on mostly young girls.

I really didn't expect to find a twist in this book but at about 90% I was totally astounded to find I had been under an incorrect assumption all along. It's not often a book brings me to tears but this one did, as did the author's notes.

What a great historical fiction novel that seamlessly intertwined three narratives and the fight for a choice in Canada. I highly recommend this!

Are you going to pick this up?

1 comment:

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