Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Holly Quan

By Lynn Willoughby

The Sow’s Ear Cafe ~ Holly Quan

The setting for this novel is the Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Longview area.  That is what captured my interest.  As I did more digging I found out the Sow’s Ear Cafe was located in the old Wray McRae building in Turner Valley.  How great to read a novel that describes the sky, the sunrises, the weather, the grass, the colours of the trees – in one of my favourite parts of the world!
Lucie has a high powered job in Vancouver.  Then, she loses her boyfriend, the job and her bank account.  So in a borrowed car with borrowed money she heads east and trades her Vancouver life for “tumbleweeds and cowboys.”
The story line here is not terribly gripping, nor especially original.  In fact, the plot is quite predictable, but it is the locale that grabbed me.  As Quan describes driving Highway 22 passing all the fence posts with baseball caps nailed to them, I think “I know exactly where that is!”  As she describes the annual firefighters ball and sees Ian Tyson in the crowd, I think “I know that crowd!”
Many of the characters in this book are small town stereotypes.  But it is Lucie’s life on the ranch and in the Cafe that kept me reading.  Her take, with fresh eyes, on things we all take for granted, made for a good read.  This is a gentle, easy read – maybe great for the summer.
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