From the publisher:
After the local French teacher scandalizes the fishing village of Little Cove, Newfoundland, by running off with a priest, the school looks to the mainland to fill the job quickly. They want someone who can uphold their Catholic values and keep a motley group of largely unwilling students in line.
The position is filled by mainlander Rachel O’Brien—technically a Catholic (baptized!), technically a teacher (honors degree!)—who’s desperate to leave her current mess of a life behind. She isn’t surprised that her students don’t see the value of learning French. But she is surprised that she can barely understand their English… Is it a compliment or insult to be called a sleeveen? (Insult.) And the anonymous notes left on her car, telling her to go home, certainly don’t help to make her feel welcome.
Still, she is quickly drawn into the island’s traditional music and culture, and into the personal lives of her crusty but softhearted landlady, Lucille, her reluctant students and her fellow teacher Doug Bishop. But when her beliefs clash with church and community, she makes a decision that throws her career into jeopardy. In trying to help a student, has she gone too far?
Full of warmth, humor, romance and the quirkiest community of characters… Get ready to be charmed by this impossibly delightful debut, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
One of the interesting things about reading advance digital galleys is that often, there is no cover art available. Had I seen this cover, I probably wouldn’t have read the book and that would have been a shame. Judging this book by its cover, to me it looks like some sort of children’s book about a young girl who moves to a new town. But that’s not it at all.
First of all, the setting is in Newfoundland, a place I know very little about. Like the fact they speak a very distinctive dialect – still English, but often with a few words thrown in that are not. I loved learning about this area in the most easterly province of Canada. Plus it takes place in a small town, which I always enjoy.
Rachel needs to get away and when this teaching job opens, she grabs it. One of her co-workers is Doug, and while they both sense the attraction, it takes a while for them to form a relationship. I loved all the quirky characters in this story, they brought a lot of love and laughter to the mix. The romance may have built slowly, but in this case, it works just fine and doesn’t slow down the story at all. That said, I couldn’t wait until they got together, I was very invested in these people and wanted them to get their happy ending. And they did.
This is a debut novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next. By the way, the author’s name, Damhnait, is pronounced pronounced “Downith,” per her Twitter feed.
NEW GIRL IN LITTLE COVE by Damhnait Monaghan. Graydon House; Original edition (May 11, 2021). ISBN: 978-1525811500. 336 pages.