by Anne Lazurko
Twenty-year-old Moira, banished to 1906 Saskatchewan because of her unwed pregnancy, must come to terms with her pioneer environment, her dodgy new acquaintances and her employment as a "dolly-bird" with a volatile young homesteader.
Winner of the WILLA Award for Historical Fiction
Shortlisted for the SaskPower Fiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards 2014
Housekeeper or whore? A dollybird is either or both in the vocabulary of the prairie west in 1906, leaving the community to draw its own conclusions about who and what Moira is and isn’t. 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 can imagine.
Thrown into the purgatory of a bleak prairie landscape as unforgiving as her mother, twenty-year-old Newfoundlander Moira Burns is certain she will rise above the locals of Ibsen, Saskatchewan. Until the reasons for her flight west become clear. Until she is befriended by a prostitute and courted by a ‘half breed’. Until she becomes the “dolly-bird” of superstitious Irish Catholic homesteader, Dillan Flaherty.
Scattered through with birth, death, and the violent potential of both man and the elements, Dollybird excavates the small mercies which come to mean more than they should on a prairie peopled with characters struggling under a huge sky that waits, not so quietly, for them to fail.