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It is 1917 and Nellie, seventeen years old and pregnant, has just returned to Cape Breton from Boston to find her lover. Instead of a safe haven, she encounters rejection and humiliation and is told to clear out and never speak of this again. In her shame, she contemplates suicide at Victoria Park in Truro, but a passing stranger, headed to the WWI front, offers her some gifts that could help her survive, and allow him to run away from his own past. She returns to Boston, where she finds shelter and learns to live with dignity and purpose. The circle of life there, of struggle and kindness, of pain and beauty, for both the living and the dying convinces her to return to her family. However, her plan of a quiet life on Campbell’s Mountain does not pan out as she thought it would.
Nellie’s story reflects the lives of many Nova Scotia women who found their way to Boston. Her world becomes a matter of daily survival, while so many in the world, including the stranger from Truro, try to survive the catastrophic chaos of WWI and the Spanish Flu. Never Speak of This Again takes the reader from eastern Canada to western Canada, to Europe, and back again. In the messy existence of life, heroes can be victims and villains, and she hopes there is always a chance for redemption, but she wonders how far she can risk society’s scorn for her own personal happiness.
Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy is a born and bred Cape Bretoner, though she tends to roam the world occasionally in search of adventures with her husband, now that their four grown children are self-sufficient. She loves to delve into community stories through her four plays and now her first novel.