New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan
Published by Graydon House ISBN 9781525811500
Trade paperback, $16.99, 336 pages
Rachel O'Brien left the metropolis of Toronto for the small town of Little Cove in Newfoundland, which, while technically part of Canada is a province unto itself.
After the death of her beloved father, and her mother heading to Australia on sabbatical, Rachel takes the only job she can get as a French teacher at a small Catholic high school in Little Cove. She replaces the teacher who ran away with the parish priest.
Set in 1985, we meet the interesting people in the small town of Little Cove. The first person she encounters is Phonse, the kindly school handyman who is also a mean fiddle player. He directs her to the home of Lucille, the woman who rents Rachel a room.
Rachel has a hard time adjusting to the small town vibe of Little Cove. Everyone is curious about her, and in true small town manner knows everybody's business. There is no library, big grocery store, or restaurants. A fun Friday night is hanging out with the Holy Dusters, Lucille and her friends who hook beautiful rugs.
The other new teacher at school is Doug, who has lived in Little Cove his entire life, caring for his mother. Rachel is attracted to Doug, but he has a fiancee who lives elsewhere. Rachel works hard to connect with her students, but she has a few missteps, including one that could seriously jeopardize her employment.
Seeing Little Cove through the eyes of Rachel is enlightening. As she gets to know the residents, she becomes attached. Growing up she played the violin, and Phonse gave her fiddle lessons that she put to good use as she joined him and some of her students playing in the local pub. Her rescue of a dog that fell through the ice makes her hero in the eyes of the town.
New Girl in Little Cove combines elements of the Broadway show Come From Away and Schitt's Creek, with a dash of Netflix's Derry Girls. If you enjoyed any or all three of those (like I did), pick up New Girl in Little Cove. It will put a big smile on your face as you read, and if you come from a small town, or wish you did, you'll love it even more. I give it my highest recommendation, and I can't wait to read what Damhnait Monaghan writes next.
Thanks to Harlequin for putting me on Damhnait Monaghan's tour.