“Intense and compassionate, Pinder's story skirts sensationalism by focusing on character. It is a powerful tale.”
—Publishers Weekly (New York)
“A haunting first novel by a writer of great talent and sensitivity. It treats a difficult theme with humanity and admirable complexity.”
UNDER THE HOUSE is the story of the Rathbones, a prominent Saskatchewan family who live with a secret they're determined to keep. Only young Evelyn finds the courage to break down the wall of silence that keeps the truth at bay. Her ally is Aunt Maude, a timid woman who has lived with the secret from childhood. The secret made her different, the butt of playground jokes. The secret was like the apples in the cellar under the house-rotting, sticky and soft. It is timing that gives this novel its strength, from the confused wanderings of Aunt Maude at the start to the unanswered letter from her sister which ends it. Along the way, Leslie Hall Pinder gives herself every opportunity, right down to a courtroom scene, for sensation and melodrama, and skillfully resists each one in favor of her long-term aim: the creation of a family so determined not to look back at their past that they never see the chains that bind them to it.
- shelfstealers, March 2012
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