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5 May 2021

If you’re looking for a well-written Saskatchewan romance then Doreen M. Bleich’s latest novel may be the perfect summer read.

Anna Johansson wants to quit her job at the bank in the hopes of becoming a full-time writer and is doing some freelance writing on the side. One of her stories – an article on internet dating for Thirty Something magazine – introduces her to Nathan Haines, a rodeo-loving farmer in Borden. Nathan is divorced (his childhood sweetheart decided that she was not cut out to be a farmer’s wife and headed to Calgary with an insurance salesman she met at work) and had a horrible experience with internet dating.

Anna’s not looking for a relationship but agrees to meet for dinner in Saskatoon. To her surprise they get on really well and things begin to look promising. But then a well-kept secret from Anna’s past emerges and causes her to reevaluate everything. Anna’s parents, never particularly supportive to begin with, are completely against Anna’s relationship with Nathan and Anna can’t understand why. Finally, Anna’s very emotionally taut mother breaks down and reveals long-hidden family secrets. But what effect will this have on Nathan and Anna’s relationship?

I love reading books set in Saskatchewan. There’s an instant familiarity that gets you involved in the story, whether it’s reading about crossing the street to the store in Borden, with the stately elms casting an umbrella-like tunnel over passing pedestrians or sitting on the banks of the South Saskatchewan river in Bessborough Park enjoying the cool breeze off the water.

I found the book emotionally satisfying. The characters are well-developed, and even though the book deals with potentially triggering topics, Bleich deals with them with gentleness and sensitivity.

Doreen M. Bleich is a Saskatchewan writer and playwright who lives in Nipawin. Her other books include cookbooks: Cooking Country Style and Seasons of Plenty – a Cookbook Celebrating the Holidays, a novel Ready or Not and a volume of short stories called Mishaps and Misfortunes. She has been published in numerous anthologies and publications of the Tisdale Writing Group and has also written numerous plays, many of which have been produced. Find out more at www.doreenbleich.com.


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