By Lynn Willoughby
The Fortunate Brother ~ Donna Morrissey
I have been a fan of Morrissey since she first published “Kit’s Law”. This novel is a continuation of the Now family story which began in “Sylvanus Now”, then we read “What They Wanted”. I have enjoyed all of them and if you happen to be from Newfoundland you will enjoy them even more.
The Nows are still grieving from the accidental death of Chris on an oil rig in Alberta. Morrissey’s descriptions of how each family member copes had me walking in their shoes. The novel’s protagonist is the younger brother so we read mainly about him, his friends and cousins. Kyle is considered “the fortunate brother.” Kyle feels he has to fill the space of two and tries so hard to please his father. This patriarch is stern, silent and tragic, yet when he is talking to Kyle and calls him “Kylie”, my heart broke.
There are many things broken here – the livelihood of fishermen, Ade’s breast cancer, the brutality of Clar to his wife and his dog, the rampant alcoholism, the mysterious Kate.
About 60 pages in there is a murder and Kyle becomes a suspect. However, it is his speculation and worries about the real killer that drives the tension. There were times when I was reading the book that I had to put it down and walk away, the tension was that high! Novels that are character driven are my personal favourites.
Morrissey is a master at setting a mood through the expert Newfoundland dialogue, through her wonderful descriptions of the landscapes, the smells in the air, our irrational fears in the dark – and always, the ocean.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.
- Downhill Chance
- Kit’s Law