WINNER of the 2014 WILLA Literary Award for historical fiction
NOMINATED for the 2014 SaskPower Fiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
Twenty-year-old Moira, banished to 1906 Saskatchewan because of her unwed pregnancy, must come to terms with her pioneer environment, and the superstitious Irish Catholic homesteader, Dillan Flaherty, who employs her as a “dollybird.”
Housekeeper or covert whore? A dollybird can be either, or both, in the vocabulary of the times, leaving the community to draw its own conclusions about who and what Moira is in that settler’s soddy. Determined to find redemption in the midst of their derision, and to find joy despite uncertainty, Moira faces impossible choices with consequences beyond anything she ever imagined.
Woven through with births, deaths and the potential violences of both man and the elements, Dollybird examines and celebrates the small mercies which come to mean more than they should, on a prairie peopled with characters who are struggling under that huge sky that seems to be waiting, not so quietly, for them to fail.