FALL ON YOUR KNEES by Ann-Marie MacDonald

“They are the Pipers of Cape Breton Island — a family steeped in lies and unspoken truths that reach out from the past, forever mindful of the tragic secret that could shatter the family to its foundations. Chronicling five generations of this eccentric clan, Fall on Your Knees follows four remarkable sisters whose lives are filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love. Their experiences will take them from their stormswept homeland, across the battlefields of World War I, to the freedom and independence of Jazz-era New York City.”

The above is official.  Not much of a description, is it.

It is about a family, about race and  racism, about The Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name, about loyalty, and about lots and lots of drama. What a great book.  Tome.  A great tome.  It is huge, 508 pages.

Here’s the outline:  it starts with the dad, a young piano tuner, who meets 13 year old Materia, pianist extraordinaire, one of a number of children of a prosperous Lebonese family living in Cape Breton, when he is called in to tune their piano.  Materia falls in love with him, and runs away with him the following year to marry.  She is pregnant with their first child, Kathleen, who turns out to be a vocal prodigy.

Materia becomes a little crazy, ok maybe a lot crazy, and is befriended by the wife of the Jewish butcher.  Eventually she has several other children, all girls, when Kathleen is a preteen.  The story follows their lives, and honey, let me tell you, it is drama city!  Whoo ee.  And let me tell you, you will not believe who does what to whom.

It is a saga, sure enough, and what a read.  The proverbial page-turner.  I loved this book.  LOVED this book.

It is MacDonald’s first novel.  She is  a Canadian playwright, novelist, actor and broadcast journalist.  What talent.  I have MacDonald’s The Way The Crow Flies,  which is even more of a door stop at 848 pages.  Think I will read a few other genres before I start in on that one.





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