She Who Burns - Available Now!
Published by FriesenPress, 2023
In 1916, a wee orphaned girl is taken in by a childless couple who own a sheep farm in the Scottish Highlands. Sheena becomes the first of six generations of mothers and daughters whose lives are deeply affected by the darkness of sexual assault and the bright light of fire. At age sixteen, Sheena’s daughter Sadie leaves Scotland and travels south to London during the worst of the Blitz. There she finds two friends: one offers Sadie a home and the other introduces her to the mysteries of the Tarot. Amid the horrors of war, Sadie falls in love with a Canadian soldier and moves to Canada as a war bride. The next generations inherit their ancestors’ unresolved traumas along with a vintage deck of Tarot cards that pass down from one daughter to the next, influencing their lives in ways they don’t fully understand until a time of reckoning arrives. With its vivid cast of compelling women, She Who Burns offers readers a powerful, fast-paced, engaging story that seizes the heart and doesn’t let it go.
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The Left-Handed Dinner Party and Other Stories
Published by University of Alberta Press, 2017
All the characters struggle with the absence of at least one person who has disappeared prematurely from their lives. In the voids created by the missing loved ones, family secrets bubble to the surface, a recipe box moves itself around, dead grandfathers haunt, and a ghost lingers in a twenty-year limbo. As the book progresses, surprising connections emerge making the stories feel like one big puzzle.
Gentle, comic, and uplifting, the story’s craft perfectly complements its humanity and skillfully closes this promising collection.
This collection reads a bit like a mystery novel with subtle connections between characters and stories. Each story is somewhat familiar: you’ve probably heard a story like it before . . . just not told as intriguingly and effectively as Coulter does it.
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A Year of Days
Published by University of Alberta Press, 2015
After her mother succumbed to a rare form of dementia, Myrl Coulter turned the eulogy she had written for the funeral into a series of meditations on absence. The result is fifteen personal narrative essays that move through the vacations, holidays, special occasions, and ordinary days each year brings. Coulter reaches for the mother who is gone, yet ever-present, no matter where she is or what she is doing. In every captivating detail of Coulter’s world, A Year of Days offers readers an intimate odyssey of experience and catharsis.
A Year of Days is light without ever treading Hallmark grounds, funny while still acknowledging the gravitas of death and full of the remembered warmth or loss of not only the 'special' days, but also the days that lie around them by the hundreds: days at the lake, Mexican holidays and days in which we simply move and live. 'Keep moving,' Coulter writes. 'Movement is life.'
The book spans a single calendar year, but Coulter says what it’s really about is the process of living through the same dates and events, time and time again, even as our experiences of them change dramatically as we age.
On the Edmonton Journal's Bestsellers list (Edmonton Nonfiction) for the week of May 8, 2015 (Edmonton Journal 2015-05-08) #3 on the Edmonton Journal's Bestsellers list (Edmonton Nonfiction) for the week of May 22, 2015 (Edmonton Journal 2015-05-22)
2016 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards / Foreword Reviews short-listed 2016 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards / Foreword Reviews runner-up 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Bronze in Essay/Creative Non-Fiction winner
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The House with the Broken Two
Published by Anvil Press, 2011
The House with the Broken Two: A Birthmother Remembers is a memoir about adoption, about growing up in the 60s, about being a mother in the 70s and 80s and 90s, about how individual lives collide with their moments in history, and, perhaps most of all, about the fragile unit we call family.
A memoir, an adoption narrative and a grief mosaic, this winner of Simon Fraser University's 2010 First Book Competition is a beautifully written volume in the genre of creative non-fiction.
The House with the Broken Two portrays a vivid and unsettling picture of Canadian sexual politics and social policy as it related to the consequences of extramarital sex. Before World War II the public and private agencies made small attempts to keep single mothers and their babies together, but when the 1950s paradigm of the perfect nuclear family took hold in North America attitudes changed. ‘Girls like me were not young women who needed a helping hand,' Coulter writes. ‘Instead we were seen as somehow delinquent and definitely unfit as mothers.'
Coulter wrote this book for her birth son as a way to fill in the gaps between the time she gave him up and when she finally met him again as a thirty-something adult. Many readers will be heartened by Coulter's story and her later achievements. Not only does her memoir examine an historic social phenomenon, it also demonstrates how young women have the ability to change the trajectory of their lives and embrace success. Social workers and teenage mothers in particular will find this story of interest.