Sonja Danychuk, a serious and introverted student with dirt-poor immigrant parents, takes pride in her intellectual and academic achievements—essential skills to help her survive and eventually leave small-town Davenport in Northern Ontario. When her father is cut down by a fatal heart attack, Sonja must find a way to pay for university, so she agrees to tutor Carl Helbig, her high school's hockey star and NHL hopeful, despite her strong aversion to his jock-like persona.
Carl graduates and heads toward becoming Rookie of the Year for the Boston Bruins, but concussion-prone, he finds himself in the brain trauma unit of the Toronto General. He and Sonja are once again drawn together, but this time the risks are life-threatening. Sonja is faced with a decision that will impact both her and Carl, and their uncertain future.
About the author
Suzanne Hillier was born in St. John's, NF., before Confederation with Canada, and before the start of WWII. She graduated from McGill University with a BA in social sciences and attended graduate school in Columbia University in New York. She married and moved to Toronto, where she obtained a teaching certificate, an MA in literature from the University of Toronto, and where she also taught for several years. She started law school in 1968 and graduated in 1972, the year of her husband's death. She opened her own law practice in 1974, retired in 2005, and started writing. Her fiction has been published in various North American periodicals. Sonja & Carl was published by Brindle & Glass Publishing in 2017; My Best Friend Was Angela Bennett is her second novel. She currently divides her time between Caledon, Ontario, and the Southern California Desert.
Sonja & Carl bears similarities to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic, Anne of Green Gables, though it’s set at the turn of this millennium.
"The story of Sonja & Carl is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It begins in their senior year of high school, and the evolution of their connection through the following years. Set in a small town in Northern Ontario, the story centres on Carl’s hockey skills and Sonja’s intellect: two opposites and the physical and emotional forces that bring them together and pull their lives apart. The piecing together of their connection was sweet and intriguing, and quickly tragic . . . This is Suzanne Hillier’s first novel, and I look forward to reading her future works."
Girly Book Club