We’ve great fans of Karen Sullivan’s Orenda list, partly because of the inclusion of so many very fine books published in translation.We first came across the writing of acclaimed French-Canadian author Roxanne Bouchard in 2018, when Orenda published the lyrical We Were the Salt of the Sea in English. We adored it. It’s a beautiful piece of writing and a wonderful evocation of the sea. The Coral Bride, published this month, is a worthy follow-up.

Set on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, where the sea is the all-commanding presence, giving and taking as it sees fit, the novel centres around the disappearance of Angel Roberts just before her tenth wedding anniversary. Angel is one of the few fisherwomen in the area, a rarity in such a male-dominated world, and when her vessel is found floating just off the coast, an all-out search begins. When Angel’s body is found, dressed in a white wedding dress, the circumstances of her death are suspicious, to say the least. DS Joaquin Moralès, introduced in We Were the Salt of the Sea, is called in to investigate. As he interviews the people who knew and loved Angel, he begins to realise that all is not as it first seems and that there are several people who have cause to want Angel dead.

One of the central themes of the book is family, not just Angel’s but Moralès’s too. Through the introduction of Sébastien, his son, Moralès evolves as a character, becoming much more fully fleshed, as we are given insight into his past and role as a father.

Bouchard’s writing, as always, is superb, her use of language (and David Warriner’s fine translation of it) mesmerising. Clever, well-plotted and paced, with a great opening scene, The Coral Bride is highly recommended.


The Coral Bride | Roxanne Bouchard, trans. David Warriner | Orenda | November 2020 | paperback original | £8.99 |

See: We Were the Salt of the Sea review

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the publisher virtual book tour. Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater for arranging it and to the publisher for sending a book proof. All views expressed are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other great reviews on the tour.

See also: Michael Connelly’s epic hero, Mickey Haller‘;‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Lynda La Plante’s nod to the old and new’; ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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