From David Adams Richards, winner of the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award, comes a story of one woman’s resolute and determined struggle in overcoming small town prejudice and deceit.
Janie McCleary and her husband George King run one of the first movie theatres in the Maritimes. Their marriage is deemed scandalous--he is Church of England, she is Irish Catholic--but it is not until George dies in the 1920s that the town, led by unscrupulous Joey Elias, turns against Janie. A woman in a world of men, she soon finds herself nearly hounded out of business. But not only does she survive, she prospers. Within a year she is wealthy but ostracized. More and more reclusive, a victim of double-dealing and overt violence, she trusts no one outside her family. Loyalty, even unto ruin, becomes the code of Janie’s small family.
Spanning generations, River of the Brokenhearted explores the matriarch’s life as a pioneer before the age of feminism, and her legacy as it unfolds in the lives of her son and grandchildren. In the end the specter of Janie is raised again in the granddaughter, Ginger--brilliant, funny, tempestuous, as fiery in spirit as Janie ever was, but who makes her way in an even more dangerous world.