The Place on Dalhousie (Melina Marchetta, Viking)
Melina Marchetta writes masterfully about messy relationships, whether they are familial or romantic, and her new novel is no exception. When Rosie Gennaro meets Jimmy Hailler, the two enter into a brief romance. Jimmy disappears soon after, and they lose contact until years later, when Jimmy learns that Rosie now has a baby boy, Toto, and he is the father. Since she had Toto, Rosie has been living with her stepmother, Martha, in the house her father was rebuilding before he passed away. There is a great deal of tension between these women—Rosie believes the house should be hers, while Martha questions how Rosie could manage a mortgage and a renovation with a young child and no steady job. Meanwhile, Rosie is struggling with life as a young mother, and Jimmy is agonising about how to be a good dad when he never had one himself. For readers who aren’t familiar with Marchetta, this large cast of returning characters, who appear in several of her previous books, can be hard to connect with at times. Despite this, The Place on Dalhousie is a big-hearted book that addresses grief, new motherhood and finding and defining your own family. It is bound to be loved by long-time fans of Marchetta’s and of authors such as Alice Hoffman and Sonya Hartnett.
Ellen Cregan is the marketing and events coordinator for Readings, and the First Book Club coordinator for Kill Your Darlings