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Staff Reviews

It’s almost unbelievable that the characters in Donna Morrisey’s vivid and compelling Kit’s Law are living in our same century – and only just a bit to the east.  Newfoundland is a marvelous province and a step back in time, and you can experience it vicariously through the odd but compelling life of Kit Pitman.

Great writing!

— Jill


In this powerful novel from one of the most gifted storytellers to emerge from Canada since Carol Shields, we find “all the old-fashioned virtues: a vivid sense of place, an intricate and suspenseful plot, and a feisty heroine whom we can’t help rooting for on every page” (Margot Livesey). Kit Pitman is fourteen and lives in a ramshackle cottage on the outer banks of Newfoundland, where isolation is all she knows. The only visitors are fogbound fishermen and an occasional young man brought ashore to keep the bloodlines clean. But Kit’s isolation is compounded by the mystery that surrounds her family and her illegitimate birth. Her mother, Josie, is mentally retarded and often runs wild among the clapboard houses that dot the shore. Meanwhile, her grandmother Lizzie staunchly guards them both from the disapproving glances pious townsfolk cast their way. But when Lizzie dies suddenly, Kit and her childlike mother are left vulnerable to life’s harsh realities and to unexpected dangers that repeatedly threaten to break them apart. A wrenching story ensues, as Morrissey depicts with exceptional grace the way the lines between mother and daughter in this unlikely relationship, although blurred, are deeply felt. Kit's Law is a novel of extraordinary, almost mythical power and marks the debut of an enormous new talent.

About the Author

Donna Morrissey was born in The Beaches, a small village on the northwest coast of Newfoundland that had neither roads nor electricity until the 1960s a place not unlike Haire’s Hollow, which she depicts in Kit’s Law. When she was sixteen, Morrissey left The Beaches and struck out across Canada, working odd jobs from bartending to cooking in oil rig camps to processing fish in fish plants. She went on to earn a degree in social work at Memorial University in St. Johns. It was not until she was in her late thirties that Morrissey began writing short stories, at the urging of a friend, a Jungian analyst, who insisted she was a writer. Eventually she adapted her first two stories into screenplays, which both went on to win the Atlantic Film Festival Award. Kit’s Law, Morrissey’s first novel, was the winner of the Canadian Booksellers Association First-Time Author of the Year Award and shortlisted for many prizes, including the Atlantic Fiction Award and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Morrissey lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Praise For…

"Kit is a heroine whom we immediately warm to . . . KIT'S LAW is a charmer." (Starred review)

Kirkus Reviews

"Startling, vivid, and expertly crafted, this novel introduces an exciting writer whose career needs to be followed closely." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"A Dickensian brawl of a novel . . . never a dull moment! The reader is willingly swept along in the tide." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Product Details
ISBN: 9780618109272
ISBN-10: 0618109277
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2001
Pages: 400
Language: English