The Sister’s Tale

“She arrived at the Pleasant Valley station on a cold spring night and Henry Quigley picked her up. Utter darkness, save a flicker of light in one window, when the horse came to a stop before the farmhouse. Smell of cows and forest, and the thin throb of peepers….”

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A novel of orphans and widows, terror and hope, and the relationships that hold women together when things fall apart.

With murder in the news, the respected wife of a New Brunswick sea captain is drawn into the case of a British home child, orphaned and now, astonishingly, for sale. Mortified that she must purchase the girl in a pauper auction to save her from the lechery of wealthy townsmen, Josephine Galloway finds herself unexpectedly the proprietor of a boarding house maintained by the sweat and tears of a curious collection of women, including the English teenager, Flora Salford, who is tortured by a missing piece of her life that she fears lost forever. Working tirelessly to earn her keep and her place in this strange country, Flora must decide if she can be the pillar her new family so badly requires when tragedy strikes.

Reconnecting with characters of Beth Powning’s beloved novel The Sea Captain’s Wife, while navigating the perilous class realities of Victorian Canada and the rise of women’s suffrage as a political force in the Maritimes, The Sister’s Tale is a story of women finding their way, together, through terrible circumstances they could neither predict nor avoid, but to which they are determined to never succumb.


CBC Information Morning, June 15, 2021:
Host Julia Wright speaks with an expert on British home children in New Brunswick exploring the history behind the The Sister’s Tale by Beth Powning. The Sister’s Tale is the first book in our information morning book club. Listen here.
“Beth Powning is one of Canada’s most prolific writers…Her last epic is a sprawling tale…(that) backs back beloved characters from the lauded 2010 masterpiece The Sea Captain’s Wife…both well-researched and deliciously entertaining, this book finds Powning at the top of her game.”

—The Maritime Edit

The Sister’s Tale transforms a nineteenth-century household into the stage for a gripping high-stakes saga: a story of inheritance and courage that clamours for you to turn yet another page. I savoured it like a bottomless hot toddy.”
—Sean Michaels, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of Us Conductors and The Wagers.

“ Suspenseful and thought-provoking, The Sister’s Tale resonates during our current times of political and societal challenges, and illuminates the timeless role of friendship and family.  A highly recommended read. “ 
—Ann Yu-Kyung Choi, author of Kaye’s Lucky Coin Variety

“Beth Powning has done it again. Her characters come vividly to life in this tale of sisterhood, female friendship, and the power of love and loss.”
—Cecily Ross, author of The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie

The Sister’s Tale is a mesmerizing tale of loss, betrayal, and the strength to not only find hope amid the ashes, but rise from them. Beth Powning’s lyrical style breaks and mends hearts in equal measure. I found it very difficult to put this novel down. Highly recommend!”
—Genevieve Graham, bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child

Beautifully crafted, The Sister’s Tale transports us to the very heart of Victorian New Brunswick, leaving us richer for what we have seen there: the strength and courage of its women.
Eva Stachniak, the author of The Chosen Maiden

“Meticulously researched and masterfully crafted, Beth Powning’s The Sister’s Tale is a captivating, unforgettable read. Populated with compelling, tenacious and relatable characters, this book is a potent reminder that meaningful change can start with a single voice.”
—Ami McKay, author of The Birth House

“A friggin’ good tale by a friggin’ good author. I learned soooo much….”
—Donna Morrissey, bestselling author of Kit’s Law, What They Wanted