Published April 2018 Orenda Books
As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation.
On Quebec’s outlying Gaspe Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky.
Small town vibes aplenty here, shrouded in secrets and lies. DS Morales a reluctant new comer chasing his absent wife’s dream, hits the ground running in this investigation but with scant and often conflicting information, combined with pressure from above, it is not until he reaches the wrong conclusion that he realises there is more going on than meets the eye! Meanwhile Catherine – another new arrival in town is searching for her mother and is looking for answers, both small and big.
Part crime fiction, part love story, although not a romance, more a reflection on loves lost and life passing by. A slow paced read told in both first and third person narratives, mainly in the present with intermittent chapters from the time of Catherine’s birth. Some lively characters with identifiable speech traits successfully gave the feeling of listening to this story in this small fishing village in Quebec. I shared DS Morales frustrations of not knowing what was going on and of being on the outside – a trait of successful unreliable narrators!
I enjoyed the characterisation in this novel and the theme of love and loss which was evident throughout, with Marie Garant being the embodiment of freedom, escape and unrequited love. In her death it is clear there were many who loved her, but some who did not. Small sub plots, some tender some more sinister consider what people do in the name of love.
This is the first in the series of DS Joaquin Morales books, an enjoyable read leaving me with yearnings to abandon it all and head for the seas, despite the contrary evidence provided in this book of trouble and strife where ever you are! I look forward to reading more about this Detective, meeting his so far absent wife and hopefully learning more about this unique fishing village and its lively occupants!
About the Author
French-Canadian Roxanne Bouchard is a multi-award-winning author and playwright from Quebec, Canada, and We Were the Salt of the Sea is her first novel to be published in English. She is currently writing an essay on literary creativity, and plotting the next Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales investigation.
This is a Blog Tour, special thanks to Anne Cater for organising and inviting me to be involved and Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of the book. Check out the rest of the Blog Tour here –