"“This is the story of how you were loved,” Penelope MacLaughlin whispers to her granddaughter. Penelope MacLaughlin marries a miller and gradually discovers he is not as she imagined. Nonetheless she remains determined to make the best of life at the lonely mill up the Gunn Brook as she struggles to build a home around her husband’s eccentricities. His increasing absence leaves Penelope to run the mill herself, providing her with a living but also destroying the people she loves most. Penelope struggles with loss and isolation and suffers the gradual erosion of her sense of self. A series of betrayals leaves her with nothing but the mill and her determination to save her grandchildren from their disturbed father. While she can prepare her grandsons for independence, her granddaughter is too young and so receives the greater gift: the story that made them all.
Linda Little’s novels include Scotch River, which won the Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize, and Strong Hollow, which was nominated for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. She has published short stories in a variety of literary magazines and in The Penguin Book of Short Stories by Canadian Women. She lives in River John, Nova Scotia.
"Grist is a fairly short novel at 232 pages, but it’s an historical novel that packs a lot of punch. I can honestly say that it will be one of my top favorites read this year. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read this book!"
— The True Book Addict
"I would absolutely recommend Grist to historical fiction readers!"
— Peeking Between the Pages
"4 out of 5 stars"
— Confessions of an Avid Reader
"Elegantly written, with lovely descriptions of mill work and the transient joys Penelope finds in family life, Grist is a bleak and bittersweet ode to historical women’s strength and endurance. "
— Reading from the Past
"An enduring message of perseverance, courage and hope in the face of overwhelming heartache and oppression that haunts the reader long after the final page. "
— Flashlight Commentary
"Grist is a moving and melancholy read. "
— Halifax Chronicle Herald
“An epic story by a gifted writer. There are moments in Linda Little's Grist that are breathtaking in both thought and lyricism. ”— Donna Morrissey, author of The Deception of Livvy Higgs"Linda Little lays bare the hard joys, grit and heartache of women’s lives in the rural Maritimes before and during the Great War. Her writing is exquisite. Gripping, gorgeously imagined and positively haunting, Grist is a tour de force — a novel not just to like but to love. I couldn’t put it down. ”— Carol Bruneau, author of Glass Voices and Purple for Sky
"A wonderful historical novel that will be appreciated by fans of this genre. "
— Celticlady Reviews