Published: Cedar Pocket Publishing
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: From the author and won at The Eclectic Reader
In 1951, the summer of her eighteenth year, Gene embarks on a northern odyssey with her eldest brother, Jonathan. Under the northern lights they travel as part of a medical expedition to remote Cree settlements across the grand Canadian wilderness. There, she encounters people and events that will influence her life forever, including the unflappable Sonny Marlow, a young pilot not long returned from Europe where he served as part of the Allied forces in the Berlin Airlift operation.
Drawn together by love but kept apart by her fears, theirs is a tumultuous relationship that is as unpredictable as the woman Gene becomes. From the Saskatchewan prairies to the Rocky Mountains, from James Bay to Vancouver, life and love hold many surprises and trials for Gene and Sonny. Only when Gene can walk away from the devastating shadows towards the light can she and Sonny live the life that held such promise when they were young and on the edge of love.
I close the book and I feel a little stunned. Come What May has taken my on a wide ranging journey, in terms of the large territory it covers in its Canadian setting and in the inner world of some of the characters. In the last book I was mesmerised by icebergs, this time round, the beautiful but harsh territory of the Canadian wilderness.
The book opens with Jonathan and Gene setting out on an expedition into remote areas to help the people living there. I found it took me a little while to orientate myself and was grateful when we were thrust back in time to 1939 when Gene is still a child. It was wonderful to be back with Rebecca and Samuel, Gene's parents and the main characters of Seldom Come By. Then tragedy strikes and the repercussions spread out like ripples throughout the rest of the book. I really don't want to discuss the plot because each little part is so part of the whole story that to talk too much about the book will only result in me dropping spoilers.
The men in this family are outstanding, Jonathan has grown into a wonderful doctor and brother, son and husband. When it is called for he steps up to guide and protect and speak sternly when needed. Sonny I really liked as well, he was really tried and tested and his strength held. I was with him the whole way and while it may have seemed that he was being really tough, he held out for what he really needed, even at the risk of losing someone forever. Persistent, patient, open hearted and ruthlessly demanding are some of the words I think apply to him. Morton, Gene's brother, plays an important although minor part in this story, my heart went out to him, I wanted more for him. Yet in his own way perhaps he is content.
I felt a little ambivalent about Gene, I understood to some extent her anxieties and the way life had fashioned her. She did have a lot to contend with, her own genetic makeup probably contributed, and then her choices and decisions which did lead into the dark rather the light. In the end openness, trust and revealing the truth and being honest won out. And around all that put the cloak of persistent, patient and ruthless love. Yes I am back to Sonny again. That man was a gem. However this book is really the journey of Gene and all that she experienced and who she eventually became. To find out how Sherryl Caulfield came to write Gene's story read her interesting guest post at The Eclectic Reader and how and why she started first with Seldom Come By.
I look forward to the third book in the trilogy to find out more about Gene and her family and where their lives have taken them. This book is called Come Full Circle.
Read the review at The Eclectic Reader