These are some of my favorite novels because they feature brave, foolish and lucky characters that know how to persevere in the face of adversity. Rain, wind and cold are facts of life for them. They lead a gritty life with adversity around every corner. Not surprisingly, the writing in these novels is often as spare and hard as the landscape.
Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler – This brilliant, complex novel follows Sarah around the Washington Territory. Is she a witch, a ghost, a murderer, a goddess…? Draw your own conclusions about this cult classic.
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney – Mystery, history, political commentary and love story combine with memorable characters in the high cold of the Canada wild. It is a compelling story.
Jump-off Creek by Molly Gloss – There’s no sugar-coated romanticism in Portland author Molly Gloss’s tale of a woman on her own in 1890’s Oregon. Lured by land offers, Lydia Sanderson is determined to homestead the harsh land she finds out West.
Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner – Fast forward a century to bush Alaska where a family enjoys subsistence living in a sod hut on the frozen tundra outside a town saturated with alcohol abuse and family violence. This beautifully written story conveys the reasons why.