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3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,507 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
A spellbinding and wise coming-of-age story, Shelter draws readers into the precarious world of two young sisters in search of their mother, and brings to life the breathtaking B.C. landscape through which they travel.

Maggie Dillon lives with her family in a small, roughly furnished cabin in B.C.’s Chilcotin region, where the land and the native peoples who’ve always calle
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Random House Canada (first published 2011)
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May 30, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Forty years ago, two sisters were growing up, in a small town, set in the wild countryside of British Columbia. Maggie and Jenny Dillon lived in an unfinished cabin home with their quiet reliable father, Patrick, and their imaginative, free-spirited mother, Irene. A happy family.

Maggie tells their story. And she tells it beautifully. Her voice rang true and she made me see her world, her sister, her father, her mother. I understood how the family relationships worked, I understood what was impor
Aug 21, 2013 Squibart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am unsure how to feel about this book because it seemed to me to begin as one story and end as another. Yes, the writing was vivid and almost mythical, but it also frustrated me at times when I wasn't sure which person's story was unfolding. I am still not connecting some of the "mystical" occurrences . I liked the letters the sisters wrote back and forth. Dad, Uncle Leslie and Vern were the characters that provided comfort which I find interesting since in this story of women, it is ultimate ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished-2012

I forced myself to get half way through this book and still hated it and still had no real clue what was going on so I quit reading. There were too many characters and the main characters were way underdeveloped. There was nothing about this story that drew me in or made me want to keep reading. The story was really detailed on inconsequential things and then large time periods would pass without hardly a mention to time.

In the story the girls' mother disappears. I really didn't couldnt care w
May 12, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, own, historical
Maggie and Jenny live a mostly carefree life in the Canadian wilderness with their spirited and adoring parents. But then their father is killed in an accident. Not long after, their mother loads them up and drops them off with family friends. They never see her again. When another trying time strikes the sisters, Maggie realizes she must search for the truth of what happened to their mother.

I'm kind of on the fence about this one. I picked it up at Midwinter on a whim, because it sounded like t
May 18, 2012 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own
:I would say that the title Shelter appropriately sums up what this book is about. It's the search for physical shelter, monetary shelter, emotional shelter. Maggie, Jennie, their mother, and many of the other characters are all searching for it in different ways. Will they find it? You have to read the book to find out.

This book was beautiful in many ways but I found myself having a hard time with the narrative coming from a preteen girl. It just never rang quite true to me. The story it self n
Jul 10, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, 60s-70s-80s
Sort of quiet, depressing book about two girls who grew up in a makeshift sort of way and whose mother abandons them. Shelter is an apt title as the main character, little sister Maggie, is certainly looking for protection physically and emotionally. It took me a bit of time to get into the storyline. The writing is solid but not necessarily grabby and the beginning is almost too quaint. However, the author does a good job evoking sympathy for the characters, including the unsympathetic one. A f ...more
Cheyenne Blue
Aug 06, 2014 Cheyenne Blue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
This slow-moving elegant tale is a lovely exploration of family and friendship and motherhood and love. It’s also about abandonment and loneliness.

In the 1970s, Maggie and Jenny grow up in the backwoods of British Columbia with their hippie mother and Irish father. When their father is killed, Irene, their mother leaves them with an acquaintance, Bea, and goes off to be a camp cook in a logging camp. Bea treats the girls with an offhand affection, but it’s the happy-go-lucky Jenny who is her fav
May 03, 2015 Luise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not directly boring - just totally unexciting.
I expected a bit more of the "journey of finding the mother". But it was more of a plain walk through the life-so-far of the girls with a lot of unnecessary information and suddenly a bit of pregnancy here, a totally non-related meeting-of-a-stranger-for-2-seconds there. A kind of thrilling conspiracy against Jenny that - hey! - turned into nothing. A former friend that can tell a story about the mother's past in great detail - even though she
Book Him Danno
Another tear jerk-er for sure. The story started out with a bit of foreshadowing and I knew it wasn’t going to be a happy go lucky type of book. The picture the author paints is of a family that has problems, but for the most part works them out and continues to enjoy their relationships. Of course the point of view is that of one of the children so memories surface from time to time of other then happy moments. Other moments that leads the reader to believe that everything wasn’t as it seemed.

Sep 04, 2012 Paige rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

"Shelter" is an amazing novel in that it is so powerfully realistic that it's agonizing at times. Maggie's narration is honest and straightforward, and through her story you glimpse the struggles of a girl to whom life has been unfairly harsh.

The character development in this novel is phenomenal. Maggie's quirks, worries, and flaws come together to make this unique character, but at the same time readers may well recognize aspects of themselves in her.

Vikki VanSickle

I very much enjoyed the story of Maggie Dillon, a quiet, woodsy girl abandoned mysteriously by her mother in the early 1970s in rural British Columbia. Maggie and her sister Jenny (sweet, sunnny, popular) make due with tempermental and mean-spirited Bea, waiting for their mother to return. But when Jenny finds herself pregnant and shipped off to an unwed mothers' home in Vancouver, Maggie decides to stop waiting for things to happen and take charge of her life.

Frances Greenslade knows how to wr
Mimi Sakarett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brianne Jaure
Nov 30, 2012 Brianne Jaure rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Shelter, a fiction novel, Frances Greenslade describes the setting of living in the wilderness of British Columbia so thoroughly that the reader feels as though they are actually there. The storyline is very interesting throughout, and makes the reader never want it to end. Shelter is one of the three books published by Frances Greenslade. Growing up in Ontario, Canada, and then moving to British Columbia herself, Frances Greenslade is able to relate to the characters by using very accurate d ...more
Dec 26, 2012 Niki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book overall. The story was set in the 70's, which is when I was a teenager myself so I could relate to some extent to the time-frame. However, the novel is set in a remote logging area of British Columbia and this made the story novel, exotic, fresh and thrilling for me. The author wonderfully described the natural setting in the story, really brought the environment to life and made the novel beautiful in a visual way, so much so that I am thinking about exploring that area! The c ...more
Doriana Bisegna
May 31, 2013 Doriana Bisegna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of life's greatest pleasures is when you nonchalantly pick up a book and the story totally blindsides you! This is that kind of experience! I totally cared about these characters (and yes, I know they're not real) but they are to me!!! This has undertones of She's Come Undone, The Book of Ruth and Icy Sparks. I couldn't help thinking about how this mother could have done what she did to her two daughters. I think that the story was brilliantly put together, the characters are rich, funny and ...more
Lynn Meinders
Jul 21, 2013 Lynn Meinders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seldom do I read a book that I have not chosen for myself, so when this came to me from a friend and fellow reader, I decided it would be the perfect book for my vacation---hours of reading in the car, at the lakeshore in the shade and before bed late into the night. It was excellent. It took place in the 1970s in a rustic Canadian setting and was at its core a story about family and loss and secrets and discovery. It is a book that made me care about its characters even while I was boiling over ...more
Jun 11, 2012 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and finished it in one sitting. The book was engrossing as I watched these girls grow up. I thought that the author's depiction of the girls was phenomenal as these were girls I grew fond of reading them in the pages. There was an innocence to them that was overshadowed by desperate moves, yet never truly losing their connection to one another even with the tragic losses in their lives. The mystery of the mother's disappearance permeated the book, although it wasn't the centr ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it but it slowed down in the last third of the book. Clearly at this point in the story, the girls are going to find out information about their mother and it just drags on. Too many descriptive paragraphs about the scenery that just bog down the story in this section. I just really wanted to know what happened/happens and I started skimming a lot to get to the meat of the story. Otherwise, the first 2/3 of the book are really well written and provide great character development - especi ...more
Orla Hegarty
Feb 05, 2014 Orla Hegarty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the story (compelling), the setting (1970s interior BC), and her writing.
Mary Jo
May 21, 2014 Mary Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!
Jun 19, 2015 Ruby-Celtic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Die Covergestaltung:

Das Cover dieses Taschenbuchs hat mich total begeistert. Es strahlt eine Fröhlichkeit und Zweisamkeit aus, die mich in ihren Bann gezogen hat. Ich kann auch nicht sagen wieso.

Aber diese beiden fröhlichen Mädchen/Frauen welche in den See oder das Meer springen haben mich begeistert.

Ich finde es ein gelungenes und vor allem sehr ansprechendes Cover, welches zum Lesen einlädt.

Der Inhalt:

Die Schwestern Maggie und Jenny wachsen mit ihren Eltern in den weiten Wäldern Kanadas auf. Z
James Anderson
Nov 01, 2014 James Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On an afternoon in July 2009 I was sitting with my back to a concrete wall, looking down into the Williams Lake Stampede grounds. There were about twenty or thirty others sitting and standing with me, watching the rodeo for free, if from a little distance. Everybody else was First Nation. I remember earlier, standing up on Oliver Street, again looking down into the stampede grounds, and a lean dark woman talking to me, asking me what my shirt was made of. It was a fast drying, water repelling ou ...more
Peggy Leavey
Mar 03, 2013 Peggy Leavey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book with its poetic prose, its rich description of the wilderness of the British Columbia coast, and its well-rounded characters. It is a heartbreaking story of a girl's search for the truth about her father's fatal accident and for the reason why her adventure-loving mother suddenly walked out on her two young daughters. As they struggle to survive, the sisters, Maggie and Jenny, bound together by their love for each other, continue to hope that their mother will one day return.
Jan 24, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a beautiful book. The development of the characters, some of them so kind I wanted to cry, and the descriptions of nature in remote areas of British Columbia were amazing. Another reviewer wrote, and I agree, that the story started heading downhill when Maggie goes to find her mother and just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the book. Luckily, that is a short part of the book, and the rest of it was well worth reading.
Chelsea Miller
I'd give Shelter a 3.5 overall. I enjoyed the story and felt invested in the characters. However, the last 50pgs it fell apart for me a little. It was fairly abrupt which was unfortunate given the time it seemed to take for the story to build. I'm glad to have read it (and won it as a first reads giveaway) though and learned what Maggie and Jenny went through at such a young and impressionable age.
Sep 17, 2011 Louise rated it did not like it
It is very hard for me to give a proper review of this book as I couldn’t finish it. The story was quite boring, didn’t have anything interesting to say, and was very slow paced.

The story is set in beautiful British Columbia and some of the descriptive narrative was nice but too much just ruined it. Perhaps someone else will have better luck than I did reading this.
Jun 28, 2016 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2015 Cecilia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was delightful. It was a pleasant surprise in terms of the writing. I loved the character descriptions and the descriptions of their relationships. The setting descriptions were wonderful. The book moved along nicely at an enjoyable pace as well. I found one thing interesting and that is the fact that as I read it, although it kept my interest, I felt no emotion. I was not angry with the mother (Irene) for leaving the girls, I was not sad for Jenny when she had a hard time. T ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelter is a beautifully written story of two sisters who overcome incredible odds. It is set in the wilderness of British Columbia and the author's best skill may be creating a sense of place. Jenny is a perpetually happy and care free girl and her younger sister Maggie is the constant worrier. At first, they don't appear to be very close. Their differences in age and temperament seem to set them apart. As their circumstances change, they begin to rely on each other for different things and the ...more
Nov 24, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in a free bin. Had never heard of the author but the story line was intriguing. It turned out to be a good read. Aside from one part about fairies, that I felt was off the beaten track, it was a really good and somewhat sad story. Written from the perspective of the younger of two sisters, The writing is poetic, the story a free spirited mother raising young girls after their father is killed on the job, and her disappearance. There is more to the story and "Shelters" figure pro ...more
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I was born in the Niagara Peninsula and grew up playing in the orchards and vineyards around our family's hobby farm. I can remember climbing under the thickest cover of grape vines to read and write stories in the long grass there. I wrote my first novel at age 10 when we moved to Winnipeg. The story involved an attic,a girl and a mystery. I still have a fascination with attics and abandoned hous ...more
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