Road to Thunderhill


a novel by Connie Barnes Rose

Print: 978-1-926708-28-7 – $22.95
ePUB: 978-1-926708-51-5 – $9.99
PDF: 978-1-771330-05-3 – $9.99

260 Pages
November 01, 2011

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Over the years Trish and Ray have forged a stable family life, despite a rocky beginning almost twenty years earlier — living with their friends on a communal farm that ended badly. Now they are all coming to terms with life in their forties, but Trish has become angry and insecure. She suddenly finds herself faced with an ailing marriage, a teenaged daughter who would prefer to live with her alcoholic grandmother than at home, and an annoying half-sister, Olive, whom Trish has been taught to believe is no blood relation. This cheery take-charge half-sister, now living in Trish’s childhood summer home, seems bent on destroying the last shreds of Trish’s sense of self.

When a freak April snow storm hits Thunder Hill and the power goes out, Trish finds herself in a compromising situation with her hermit/hippie friend, Bear James, who also happens to be her husband’s closest friend. Later, when forced to seek refuge at her half-sister’s home, Trish feels she’s living a nightmare, one which drives her to face her past. Will the future hold anything for Trish other than that of becoming “a bitter old woman” and “immature freak,” accusations her daughter Gayl has flung at her recently?

“This whip-smart, straight-talking novel tackles the big questions we face in middle age. How we do keep love alive? How do we make peace with our past? How do we muster the courage to change our future? In her clear-eyed prose, Barnes Rose has written an edgy rural tale whose appeal is universal.”
—Neil Smith, author of Bang Crunch

Connie Barnes Rose is a native of Amherst, Nova Scotia. She moved to Montreal where she met her husband and where they raised their two daughters. She earned a BA in Creative Writing in 1992 and an ma in English from Concordia University in 1996. Her collection of linked short stories, Getting Out of Town, was published in 1997 and short-listed for the qspell Award and the Dartmouth Award. Since then she has taught creative writing at the Quebec Writer’s Federation as well as at Concordia University. She continues to live with her husband in Montreal and still manages to return to Nova Scotia every summer.

4 reviews for Road to Thunderhill

  1. InannaWebmaster

    “I recently heard a novelist declare that a great novel achieves three criteria: It’s unputdownable, it’s unforgettable, and it’s timeless. Seeing as only future generations can attest to whether a novel attains the third criteria, I’ll concern myself with the first two, which seem valid enough, if not to determine a novel’s greatness, than at least as to whether it’s worth recommending. By this standard Road to Thunder Hill by Connie Barnes Rose more than succeeds. There are many ways to fashion an unputdownable, unforgettable story. Barnes Rose does it by creating a setting and characters that are so deeply authenticate, honest and affecting it is hard to imagine they aren’t as real and present as the folks living next door. The story is told by Trish Kyle, forty-something and at a crossroads in her twenty-year marriage to Ray who spends his weeks working several hours away in salt mines. A freak April snowstorm hits, blocking roads and knocking out power, which exacerbates Trish’s loneliness and fragile state of mind. The storm that rages outside is nothing compared to the one wreaking havoc in her heart. Trish is convinced that Ray is having an affair and she’s at her wit’s end. On Thunder Hill, seeking refuge has always been a way of life for its inhabitants, whether it be in the arms of friends, family, lovers, or escaping in booze and narcotics. Trish has done it all, particularly the latter. Now she has strong memories and emotions to contend with, including an attraction to rugged Bear James, Thunder Hill’s ‘failed hermit’ and Ray’s best friend, and resentment toward her alleged half-sister Olive, who now lives in her childhood home and is apparently bent on making Trish feel inferior. When the refugees all find themselves around Olive’s kitchen table to ride out the remainder of the uncertain weather, the question Barnes Rose beautifully conveys is when and how – it’s never really a question of ‘if’ – love and forgiveness will finally emerge on Thunder Hill, like the first crocuses of spring.”

    – reviewed by B. Glen Rotchin
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  2. InannaWebmaster

    Highlights from a review that appeared in The Montreal Gazzette on June 29, 2012
    By Michelle Lalonde

    “…Barnes Rose has that rare talent for character building that can make a novel pop from its pages, each character fully drawn, rich and utterly believable. Trish is complex: whip smart but resolutely unpretentious; self-possessed and critical, yet at the same time vulnerable and profoundly loving. The half-sister character, Olive, is one of the most comical and deftly delivered characters I have encountered in a novel in a good while.

    Barnes Rose also has a gift for gracefully moving her reader about in the plot line, dropping hints about stories in a character’s past or future. Unlike some authors who abuse this technique, Barnes Rose manages to relieve the tension of that flashback or foreshadowing at just the right time, gently teasing us forward like a host mentioning a surprise desert at the door, thus making the whole meal all the more appetizing.

    Montrealers can proudly claim Connie Barnes Rose as one of our own, even if she is a native of Amherst, N.S. She has lived in Montreal for decades and teaches creative writing at Concordia University and for the Quebec Writer’s Federation. Her 1997 short story collection Getting Out of Town was shortlisted for a QSPELL Award and the Dartmouth Award. Road to Thunder Hill is her first novel. I, for one, want to read more.”

    © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

  3. InannaWebmaster

    Highlights from a review that appeared in The Chronicle Herald on March 19, 2012
    March 18, 2012 – 4:26am
    by Judith Meyrick

    “…Rose has created a host of likeable, eccentric characters whose destinies are inextricably intertwined. They live in a small fictional farming community in Nova Scotia and like any small town, there is no privacy. Lives are grist for the gossip mill, however kindly meant.
    Rose’s characters are real and touchable. Her easy writing style creates an intimacy with her readers that pulls us straight into the pages. Her people look out for each other and take the time to make sure their neighbours are getting by, which happily gives an opportunity to keep tabs on what’s happening outside their own homes.

    A freak snowstorm hits the town, cutting power lines and isolating pockets of the community. A wild evening in the local pub ends with Trish sleeping on a pool table in the arms of Bear James, the local hermit and Ray’s best friend. Not that anything happens, mind, but community being what it is, next day the incident begins escalating into legend as folk find their way to Olive’s kitchen to wait out the storm and its aftermath.…

    Road to Thunder Hill is a novel about change and letting go, so life can move on and love can find a way to bring joy and life back to our hearts. Rose may have taken longer than she wanted to bring this novel to fruition, but it was well worth the wait.”
    Freelance writer Judith Meyrick lives in Halifax.

  4. InannaWebmaster

    Highlights from a review that appeared in The Rover on February 27, 2012
    by Leila Marshy

    “… Barnes Rose writes emotional and raw scenes with a nonchalant assurance. Using flashbacks and memories judiciously, she knows how to add texture and power to a deceptively still surface.…

    The story meanders casually but with intent, never missing a detail or failing to call out someone’s shit. In clipped and assured prose, Barnes Rose uses a bullshit meter the way somebody like Dickens used morality. That is to say, mercilessly.… Road to Thunder Hill comes to a quiet crescendo ending, where the characters don’t so much find resolution as they do their own humanity. Even better, they stop beating themselves up long enough to see each other’s humanity. There’s something to be said for riding out the storm.”

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