In 1933, Helene Giroux drives into a small town on the French shore of Nova Scotia with everything she owns in her vehicle. Helene has come on a recommendation to search out this town where she might start a new life. Her fine clothes and elegant car with its Quebec licence plates set her apart. They also get the town whispering.
Helene discovers a Molnar piano in the local church, a piano she knows well. Within a day she is playing for a funeral, and by Sunday she has been asked to direct the choir. “A congregation needs good music,” says the Father. “It brings them together.” Helene gives the community good music and draws people closer with her mysterious persona.
Even as they come to love Helene, the story of her past unravels in a public forum. Helene does not deny what they’ve heard; she asks only for people’s patience in letting her part of the story be told.
The author slowly unfolds the plot of the novel, moving from past to present, revealing more about Helene with each chapter. Like the folk of St. Homais, the reader is invited to allow Helene the possibility of redemption. (McClelland & Stewart)