New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

Damhnait Monaghan comes to the blog with her debut offering, a new start in the very unusual Newfoundland with  

New Girl in Little Cove  

If you aren’t familiar with Canada, you won’t know of Newfoundland: or if your memory extends back far enough you will have had your first mention of it during the groundings of flights on 11 September in 2001.  But I have relatives and family (and friends) who are either from or frequent visitors to the island and have been myself every summer during my childhood for a ‘sail-in, sail-out’ visit.  

But when the opportunity for a teaching position AND a total change of life for Rachel appears, she applied and was hired.  Coming from Toronto and onto the island was going to be a huge change, none of which she really expected.  But from her first moment setting foot on the island and getting near everything wrong – as they DO speak differently with an accent that can confuse, confound and frequently gobsmack visitors, she’s bound to make a mark.  

After her father’s death and her boyfriend’s infidelity – running seemed the best option to forget and ignore the ‘embarrassment’, so being nominally “Catholic”, Rachel is unprepared for both the resistance and the regulations that surround her new job.  A first-year teacher come to work with students on their French, she’s not expecting the pressure from the parish priest after the last teacher left in disgrace. She’s comparing her new place to her old – with their strange ways, their unique dialect, the sing-song rhythm of the speech or the oddly placed verb tenses. But other things shine through – after finding herself bored in the first week and at loose ends, she takes a chance and joins in with her landlady, the “hookers” who are also the cleaning women for the parish church, the beauty of the island with its contrasts and confusing moments.  

Bit by bit the openness and willingness to ‘give’ from the islanders, and Rachel’s own fascination with (and willingness to) learn what she doesn’t know- asking questions and learning from those all too willing to teach and share brings her both a new appreciation of her life, her place in it and the work – as well as learning the people, their hearts and a bit of ‘interference’ from her landlady doesn’t go amiss.  With plenty of references and explanations of the dialect used, as well as a small ‘dictionary’ of “Newfoundland-isms” (a topic that is full of academic study and work) Monaghan gives us a story of finding home in the most unlikely places, with a found sense of family and community that shines brightly.  I’m excited to see what this author will next produce as I add this book to my “Canadian Author” shelf, in pride of place.  

New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

Title: New Girl in Little Cove
Author: Damhnait Monaghan
Genre: Assimilation, Comedic Elements, Contemporary Elements, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Canada, Vocabulary and Customs, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Graydon House
ISBN: 1525811509
Published on: 11 May, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 336
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 50 minutes
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameHalf a Flame

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After the local French teacher scandalizes the fishing village of Little Cove, Newfoundland, by running off with a priest, the school looks to the mainland to fill the job quickly. They want someone who can uphold their Catholic values and keep a motley group of largely unwilling students in line.

The position is filled by mainlander Rachel O’Brien—technically a Catholic (baptized!), technically a teacher (honors degree!)—who’s desperate to leave her current mess of a life behind. She isn’t surprised that her students don’t see the value of learning French. But she is surprised that she can barely understand their English… Is it a compliment or insult to be called a sleeveen? (Insult.) And the anonymous notes left on her car, telling her to go home, certainly don’t help to make her feel welcome.

Still, she is quickly drawn into the island’s traditional music and culture, and into the personal lives of her crusty but softhearted landlady, Lucille, her reluctant students and her fellow teacher Doug Bishop. But when her beliefs clash with church and community, she makes a decision that throws her career into jeopardy. In trying to help a student, has she gone too far?

Full of warmth, humor, romance and the quirkiest community of characters… Get ready to be charmed by this impossibly delightful debut, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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