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Birdsell, Sandra.

Winnipeg, Turnstone Press, c1984. 169pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 0-8801-092-3. CIP

Reviewed by Nadiya Blaine

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

Ladies of the House is a collection of short stories depicting the lives of the Lafrenieres in the little town of Agassiz, and later on, in Winnipeg. Sandra Birdsell conjures up very vivid pictures of life in a small town, in the first two stories. The reader can feel the poverty and the struggle to exist. As the stories progress, the Lafreniere girls grow up and the scene shifts to Winnipeg. Birdsell's characters are ordinary people, and it is extremely easy to identify with them, their hopes and dreams, their struggles and disappointments. For example, in "Dreaming of Jeannie," Bobbie spends $60 she can ill afford on a make-up demonstration at Baton's because the cosmetician looked like Clint Eastwood. Ladies of the House is the sequel to Night Travellers, (General, 1984) which I have not read. Perhaps that is the reason that I often found the author's habit of flashing back to the past too abrupt and confusing. There were also times when it was difficult to keep track of the cast of characters as the author often drops them in without any introduction. Otherwise, I found the stories interesting and truly down to earth and true to life.

Nadiya Blaine, Bertie E.S., Ridgeway, Ont.
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