It is the 1950s in an isolated outport in Newfoundland. Nothing penetrates this antiquated existence, as television, telephones, cars, even roads, elude the villagers, and the only visitors are fog-bound fishermen. Here, outside of Haire's Hollow, lives 14-year-old Kit Pitman with her mentally handicapped mother Josie — both women cared for and protected by the indomitable Lizzie, Kit's grandmother. The three live a life of some hardship, but much love, punctuated by the change of seasons in the isolated gully where they live.
Then a tragic change in their circumstances brings back an old threat — that Josie be sent to an institution and Kit to an orphanage. Advancing this argument is the Reverend Ropson, who from the pulpit decries Josie as the "Gully Tramp." Defending the women is Doc Hodgson, who brought Kit into the world and knows the secrets of her birth. An uneasy truce is forged, with the Reverend's son Sid acting as spy and woodcutter, while village women supply food and gossip. Josie delights in Sid's visits, and Kit grows to love him.
There is another menace in Haire's Hollow — the notorious rapist and killer known as Shine. When Shine attacks Kit in a drunken rage, it sets off a chain of events that leads to further violence and a terrible revelation. Kit and Sid must decide which laws of God and man apply in their despairing world and how much misery they can bear. (From Penguin Canada)
From the book
Swish! The belt whistled through the air and thudded dully across padded flesh. Willard cried out, and he must've pulled his hand back because all I heard for the next savaged minute was the swishing of the belt smacking across the top of his desk, over and over and over, until Willard started bawling, more from the fright I allows, than of having the belt hit him. Then Mr. Haynes stomped back to the front of the room and, picking up a piece of chalk, scrawled across the board 'I will not tell tales out of school' and ordered all of us to write the sentence one hundred times in our scribblers. Then, while we were writing as fast as our arms would let us, he marched up and down the aisle, ripping the pages out of our scribblers as we filled them up, and scrunching them into little balls, fired them into the coal bucket along the side of the stove at the back of the classroom.
From Kit's Law by Donna Morrissey ©1999. Published by Penguin Canada.