"The first night she hardly noticed he was gone, and even though she had expected him back before the moon rose, she slept soundly." So begins acclaimed novelist and literary nonfiction writer Sharon Butala's new novel. By the end of the first chapter, Sophie Hippolyte's husband Pierre will have been gone for three days, and the suspense, as a lone horseman approaches their homesteadber cabin in the southwest Saskatchewan of the 1880s, is palpable.
Wild Rose, an epic story of The West, now long gone, charts Sophie's journey from underloved child in religion-bound rural Quebec, to headstrong young woman to exhausted homesteader to deserted bride and mother to independent businesswoman finding her way in a hostile, if beautiful, landscape. In language that is haunting, elegiac and rich with detail, Butala casts an unblinking eye on a merciless West that has become obscured behind headlines about wheat and oil prices. Sophie's West — filled with sodbusters and cowboys, fallen women and proper ladies, settlers and Indians — comes vividly alive in the pages of Wild Rose, Butala's most unforgettable novel. (From Coteau Books)
From the book
She was thinking of her first summer here. She had been fearless, riding Tonerre by herself to search for berry patches - had picked pails of Saskatoons and chokecherries, once near the creek a mile to the north where Saskatoon bushes grew abundantly on the banks among the wild roses and wolf willow, beside a group of native women, not even knowing they were there, until they came through the bushes to pick side by side with her. Sophie, unsure what to do, until one of them reached silently in front of her, pulled down a fruit-laden branch she couldn't reach, and held it for her as Sophie stripped its fruit.
From Wild Rose by Sharon Butala ©2015. Published by Coteau Books.