Four generations of women. Four generations of stories. Years of secrets. Rule of Seconds interlaces the extraordinary lives of four genera-tions of one family in the Northern Ontario city of Sault Ste. Marie. The cyclical nature of themes and tragedy entwines the women and their histories. At age twenty-six, the narrator-protagonist Sheila recalls her past and that of her family in hopes of unearthing the cause of her painful epilepsy. Piecing together the depth of her troubled family history, Sheila discovers far more than she can cope with. Spanning from the 1920s to present day, the narrative depicts the unconventional life of Sheila's great grandmother who owned a three-storey boarding house and ran an illegal speakeasy in the basement. Rule of Seconds is a story about four generations of hard women, defying the conventions of their era, time and again.
"Shawna Partridge's Rule of Seconds is a powerful and fast-paced work that beautifully renders the tensions and tenderness or a storytelling family. Personal narratives, diary entries, letters, and historical facts are skillfully intertwined in this compelling examination of generational understanding and misunderstanding. Secrets provide the catalyst for the narrator's probing desire to uncover truths, reconcile differences, and ultimately determine who, in light of her family, she is." -Madeline Sonik, author, Afflictions & Departures: Essays "Shawna Diane Partridge delivers a solid first book - part love story, part mystery, part self-help.Rule of Seconds exemplifies what can happen when the tradition of matriarchal leaders living in patriarchal times get a voice to speak out. Where 'secrets' aren't so much secrets as they are purposefully-kept-quiet life choices. Where pride and face-saving reigned over compassion and hope. Where the women let their space and time define them on the outside leaving heaving holes within that could never been filled." -Vanessa Shields, author, I Am That Woman and Look At Home