Girl In A Red River Coat
Mary Peate

Shoreline Press

This is the fictionalized memoir of Peate, a young girl in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood near the onset of World War II. It is the best of times and the worst of times. The Depression is still affecting even middle-class communities. There is an innocence to pre-adolescent life (especially convent-educated life) in this era, resulting in some of the book’s best comedy. Peate also has to deal with real problems of polio outbreaks, friends losing their parents, and her ongoing battles with the nuns.

A domestic issue looms even larger: Peate’s ailing aunt has moved in with her family, and this causes endless irritation for the girl. Girl in a Red River Coat evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of a vanished era. Peate’s character develops and grows over the course of the book. Her attempts to get her aunt to move out eventually bear fruit, but not quite in the way Peate thought they would.

Shoreline is to be commended for making Girl in a Red River Coat, originally published by Clarke, Irwin & Company in 1970, available to a new generation of readers. mRb