Bessie Smith Connolly has lived with her Nova Scotia grandparents since she was small. But at seventeen—grieving the death of her steadfast grandfather, smarting from a split with the boy she loves—she escapes to Saskatoon to be with her mother, Isabel. Bittersweet, clear-eyed, and deeply affecting, this marvellous debut novel charts Bessie’s course as she makes her way through her exploded family and out into the world.
“Open Arms is the story of a young woman’s quest. Her search is for a mother, her hope is for a final, hard-won comprehension, a reprieve from the ache of being human. But, as in the finest of quest stories, comprehension does not come at some big, dramatic end, it comes all along the complicated way. Marina Endicott’s vision is evidence that the journey itself, although lonely and uncharted, can be filled with both clues and consolation.” – Bonnie Burnard