Photo Credit: James Bell Photography
Michelle's Debut Novel
Set in early twentieth-century Nova Scotia, our story follows the naive but curious Helen, as she recalls the relationships and significant moments that have led to the birth of her child. Born in the grip of poverty to a cruel mother and a gentle but absent father, Helen’s life follows a surprising path as she is moved from one place to another, constantly leaving the people she cares about behind.
The love she has for her best friend, Madge, and her husband, Edgar, are tested as her journey is overshadowed by rumours and secrecy. Her loving Aunt Gertie guides her with humour and wisdom as she grows into a woman.
Throughout it all, Helen takes in the world around her, but with an innocence that lets it break her heart over and over again. Why is Madge’s family so sad? Why does Helen's brother hate their mother and why has the details of their parents’ marriage been kept a secret?
As Helen grows, she slowly unravels family secrets, and finds the life she’s been building is one she never expected.
Moving from the woodlands of rural Nova Scotia to the city streets of Boston and back again, Birth Road is the powerful story of a woman desperate to live life on her own terms.
Told in startling vignettes and with bold, impeccable prose, Birth Road is a story of love, lost innocence, and the secrets that so often haunt small places.
Advanced Praise for Birth Road
“Michelle Wamboldt is a natural-born storyteller. A true writer. Birth Road is a story of growth and discovery, beautifully written, expertly told. I felt as though I were in the hands of a seasoned writer. I've no doubts that, with this book, Can - lit has found its latest shining star.”
-DONNA MORRISSEY, best selling author of The Fortunate Brother
“Silent heroes rarely seek the attention they deserve. As the ghosts of love and loss linger quietly and turbulently on the pages of this beautiful and important novel, Wamboldt’s compassion and keen insight runs deeply into her troubled-wounded souls. She knows when to pick them up and when it is time to let them fall. And in the quiet moments, when poetry is read aloud a shade above a whisper, and late summer daisies sway in the breeze, one realizes that life can still hand you a bouquet.”
-BEATRICE MACNEIL, author of Where White Horses Gallop and The Girl He Left Behind
"Michelle Wamboldt’s impressive debut is a suspenseful, engrossing, and meticulously researched portrait of a woman seeking connection to a world that keeps getting pulled out from under her. The narrator, Helen, is based on the author’s own grandmother, but with a heart full of resentment, broken dreams, poetry, and eternal hope, she’s as easily mine or yours.”
-SARAH MIAN, award-winning author of When the Saints
“Michelle Wamboldt has a mystery writer's uncanny knack for revealing just enough information, at just the right time, to build and maintain maximum tension throughout her story. In her case, the mystery is as intriguingly uncertain for her naive young protagonist, an early 20th-century woman yearning for autonomy--as it is for her readers. The result is a compelling page turner from a narrator we long to see find love and acceptance from the same people controlling her life with secrets. Every setback hurts, and every success thrills.”
- CHRIS BENJAMIN, author of Boy With a Problem
"Written with remarkable talent and poise, Birth Road is about the secrets we carry, the human nature to long for something more, and ultimately, it is about love. Michelle Wamboldt is a skillful and engaging writer. She created characters who are compelling and dynamic, and a story that stayed with me long after I read the last page. I didn't want it to end, and yet I couldn't put it down. Birth Road is one of the best books I've read in a long time, it is an astonishing debut from a talented writer. A truly wonderful book.
-- JOANNE GALLANT, author of A Womb in the Shape of a Heart