A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

Published 2021 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Penguin 3. Wall [Public Domain] via Pixabay 4. Cat shape [Public Domain] via Pixabay 5. Girl at window [Public Domain] via flickr Original converted to black and white.

This story is set in a small town called Solace in Canada in 1972. Next door to elderly Elizabeth Orchard, is a family in crisis. Teenage daughter Rose is missing, younger sibling Clara is traumatized, and their parents are not coping. Clara has befriended Elizabeth, who has recently become hospitalized, leaving Clara to look after her cat. One day, a stranger comes to Elizabeth’s house, and makes himself at home. It is Liam, who, as a child, had been cared for briefly by Elizabeth, and who has given up his job in the city, and separated from his wife. The story is told from the viewpoint of Clara, Elizabeth and Liam, as the mysteries of the past are revealed.

“Times without number I have asked myself how it could have come to that.”

BOOK SNAPS: The author has written each character as individuals with distinct voices, and the structure – that of weaving back and forth in time and between characters – is accomplished with skill. “Lawson’s writing is such that it appears effortless but, as all the strands come together to create a rich and satisfying tapestry, her genius for storytelling becomes apparent.” (Independent). The story is quiet and calm even though quite complex themes are covered. “The themes are big — love, loss, death, crime — but they are played out in an understated way.” (Independent). This book is “tender, well-written and hard to put down.” (Readings)


“Clearly my brain is now filing information in some dark cobwebby room to which I no longer have a key.”

“Sensible rules devised by sensible women, to protect children from harm.”

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