Emma Wentzell finally has the child she’s longed for only to find a rival for Eleanor’s affection in her older sister, Virtue. The jealousies of the past and present emerge and start the sisters on a course that neither wants yet neither can alter. Caught between the two, Eleanor fights for her own identity amidst the vagaries of what it means to be a family, doubts about church and God, and her mother’s failing health. Set in Lunenburg in the 1940s and 50s, Broken Symmetry is the tale of two sisters and the one daughter who tore them apart.
About the author
Rosalie Osmond is a native of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, but spent a large part of her adult life in England. Educated at Acadia University, Bryn Mawr College, and Cambridge University, she has taught English literature at the university level in Canada and the U.K. She has published three works of nonfiction. Broken Symmetry is her second novel, and was shortlisted in 2020 for the Jim Connors Dartmouth (fiction) Atlantic Book Award. Her debut novel, Waldenstein had previously been shortlisted for the same award, and in 2019 Rosalie was the recipient of the Rita Joe poetry prize. She is married with three children and six grandchildren, all of whom love to come and visit in the summer.
Excerpt: Broken Symmetry (by (author) Rosalie Osmond)
The trouble began as soon Emma knew she was pregnant. After Nathan, Virtue had to be the first to know. So Emma went to the open door of her sister’s kitchen, breathless with excitement. It was late afternoon; Virtue was peeling potatoes for dinner. The knife went precisely round and round the potato, the string of peel unbroken.
“You’ll never guess what has happened. At last…,” Emma said.
Virtue looked up, the potato peel curling down from her left hand. Already she seemed removed, as if she anticipated the news. “I’m going to have a baby! After all these years. Seven lean years. Dr. Willis told me this afternoon.”
Virtue stared at her white, blank potato. “Oh,” she said. “I see.”