Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fiction: For a Modest Fee by Freda Jackson

Gender equality -- and otherwise -- on the Canadian prairies is one of the major themes of For a Modest Fee (Touchwood). A doctor’s daughter is forced to pick up the reins he drops when he dies of a heart attack in a remote Alberta town in the summer of 1907.

If equality and issues surrounding gender play an important role in the story, they certainly don’t dominate all of it. There is, for example, the poise and poetry of a small, evolving town and the community of people who develop with it.

Readers who enjoyed Jackson’s 2007 debut, Searching for Billie, will already have noted this author’s eye for detail and care and respect for history. These things contribute again to making For a Modest Fee an enjoyable and illuminating read. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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