There are a few books each season that I wait for like a kid waiting for Christmas. Last year it was the new Alice Munro collection. This year it was Jane Urquhart’s new novel, Sanctuary Line. I had a chance to read it on my e-reader ages ago, but I held out for the finished book as I do for most of my favourite fiction authors (I’m glad I did wait; this is a gorgeous package and I want it on my shelf now that I’ve read it).
Set in the present on the shores of Lake Erie, the novel’s narrator, Liz Crane, is an entomologist who has moved into the deserted farmhouse where she spent the summers of her youth. While she studies the migratory patterns of Monarch butterflies, she copes with the recent death of her cousin Amanda Butler, killed in Afghanistan. Liz gradually reveals the Butler family’s colourful history, as well as the story of her first love, Teo, one of the seasonal Mexican workers who traveled to the farm each summer.
A novel about difficult migrations, understanding and forgiveness, Sanctuary Line lives up to all of my high expectations. Beautifully written, intricate and wise, it will deeply satisfy fans of The Stone Carvers and Away. And if you have not yet had the pleasure of reading Jane Urquhart, you can start with this (and then I’m sure you will be looking for more).