Synopses & Reviews
On the prairies of Canada during World War II, a girl and her two young siblings begin a war of their own. Stricken with tuberculosis, they are admitted to a nearby sanatorium. Teenager Marie Claire is headstrong, angry, and full of stubborn pride. In a new strange land of TB exiles she must “chase the cure,” seek privacy where there is none, and witness the slow wasting decline of others. But in this moving novel about fighting a way back to normal life, it is the thing that sets back Marie Claire the most—the demise of her little brother—that also connects her with the person who will be instrumental in helping her recover.
"When 15-year-old Marie-Claire and her younger brother and sister are diagnosed with tuberculosis, they are admitted to Quebec's Pembina Hills Sana-torium, where they separately struggle with the disease. In the 1940s, the only cure according to Marie-Claire's nurse is 'rest.... besides eating properly and breathing in fresh air at night and during rest hours and, sometimes, surgery.' Brooks's (Mistik Lake) premise may not instantly click with readers, but they will sympathize with the book's prickly heroine, who feels as though 'my world as a normal person has just ended.' Marie-Claire has many anxieties, from worrying about her siblings to fearing a grisly operation. But as Marie-Claire recuperates, she grows up, too, beginning a sweet romance with another patient and learning to support those she loves, even though 'bad things happen and will keep on happening.' Marie-Claire and her fellow patients' fears will be recognizable to contemporary readers in a heartbreaking scene, another girl, Signy, wonders, 'And who will love me?' And those worries gain real depth from truly being a matter of life or death, instead of just feeling that way. Ages 12 up. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“From the very first page, Martha Brooks draws us into her narrative. Rich in sensory details, every word adds to this compelling picture of life on the Canada prairie.” --Shelf Awareness for Readers "It's a testament to Brooks' fine and empathetic writing (Mistik Lake, 2007, etc.) that she's able to bring vividly and compassionately to life the parallel/alternate world of what Marie-Claire calls "TB exiles" and create an emotionally rich, stirring story about loss, friendship, love and healing." --Kirkus Starred "Readers…will be fascinated by Marie-Claires fictionalized yet convincing travail.” --BCCB "Brooks masterfully re-creates a TB sanatorium through the protagonists experience and believable characters. A well-drawn, innocent, yet compelling work of historical fiction." --School Library Journal "Much like a play in its discrete, focused scenes, this novel is that rarest of birds, a happily ending, nonsappy young adult romance." --Horn Book Magazine, Starred Review "Marie-Claire and her fellow patients fears will be recognizable to contemporary readers…” -- Publishers Weekly
About the Author
MARTHA BROOKS was raised in southwestern Manitoba, near the U.S. border, in a medical family on the grounds of a tuberculosis sanatorium. She lives in Winnepeg, Canada.