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Downhill Chance

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  421 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Prude Osmond reads her tea leaves and predicts dark days ahead. Meanwhile, an hour's boat ride away, Job Gale leaves his wife and two young daughters behind to fight in the war, a cause neither they nor their neighbors understand. The war and the secrets it holds cascade over the Gale family, afflicting the sensitive yet resourceful Clair, an unforgettable heroine. Forced ...more
Paperback, 428 pages
Published 2002 by Penguin
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Oct 17, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Different. I've never read or heard anything about Newfoundland. I thought it was an excellently told story, especially because it still comes to mind a long time after reading it.
Aug 25, 2010 Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luke turned to him. "Courage?" he asked incredulously. "I ran like chickenshit."
Mar 11, 2015 Evi rated it really liked it
This is my second Donna Morrissey novel and she did not disappoint. Again she takes the reader off on a journey to the wild Newfoundland landscape and a pair of isolated outport villages in the bleak years during and after WWII.

Over at Rocky Head, Prude Osmond reads her tea leaves and predicts dark days ahead. At the Basin, an hour's boat ride away, Job Gale decides to join the war, leaving behind his wife, Sare and two daughters, Clair and Missy.

At the core of the book is the unravelling of se
This novel about forgiveness of oneself and others delivers a real sense of what it was like to live in rural coastal Newfoundland in the 1940's and 50's. The main characters, sisters Clair and Missy, are well drawn, as is Clair's daughter Hannah. The story has such an epic quality to it that I wanted to rated it higher than 3 stars, but it's a bit long-winded and some characters are more caricature than flesh and blood: Prude, the sisters' grandmother and Uncle Sim, for example.
Mar 08, 2012 Elise rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't finish this book, but struggled through it. I found that it was a chore to keep up with the storyline. The author had moments of lovely writing interspersed throughout, but I found it wasted on this book because of the general negative theme. The dialect didn't really seem accurate and there were situations that didn't jive with the Canadian way of life. For instance, at one point someone was drinking iced tea for breakfast. My mother being a Canadian, I know that wouldn't have t ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great big book set mainly in two Newfoundland outports during the second world war, when Newfound;and was not yet a province in Canada. The isolation from the rest of the world was thorough. Good writing, steeped in place. Sometimes I felt a little too foreign to completely comprehend, but well worth the effort reqyired.
Feb 20, 2012 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written novel that describes ,in Newfoundland argot, the hard life of the outports where men extract a difficult & dangerous living from fishing, logging, and hunting, while the women support them with affection & household chores. It takes place during the late 1930's & ends some times after confederation(1948). It deals with 2 small outports & interweaves 3 families through friendship, jealousy, tragedy & death, marriage & childbirth.
The main char
Aug 06, 2015 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of Canadians that flows along nicely keeping the reader's interest. Three stars for the story and one for being Canadian because we tend to rate ourselves the hardest!
Jan 11, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Norma
Recommended to Diane by: Tom Fleming
I could almost not stop reading this book. Beautiful writing and compelling story. It is so strange for me when a setting far far from my own tells me a truth and makes me feel that the author is speaking in my own voice even.(It happened even more strongly with the first Nadine Gordimer book I read) The story is set in remote Newfoundland around the time of WW II. Most of the story is told from the perspective of two young girls - Clair and then later, her daughter Hannah. It deals with confron ...more
Margot Mccann
May 03, 2014 Margot Mccann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great suspense I couldn't put this one down.
It was a hard one to get into but I persisted to the end and that is saying something . Too much foolishiness about fairies and such and I hope that is not her best book . Some of the things the chatacters were doing was bizarre and unreal and therefore unbelivable , so that takes away from the story as such . And it was hard to follow the story through . Ah , just not one of the real good reads but okay to past away the time as I see it .
Jan 20, 2016 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love everything Morrissey writes.
Jan 15, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book but did have a difficult time adjusting to the Newfoundland dialect that it is written in. The characters lure you in with their hardships and you just want to keep reading hoping for a good outcome for them. I am on to my last of her three books, Sylvanus now. I enjoy her story telling.
May 28, 2012 Alana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
I wouldn't say it's as good as Kit's Law. In fact it's probably about only half as good but it was still an interesting read. The talk of fairies bugged me a bit, I"m not really the whimsical type. If you like Canadian fiction I would certainly recommend reading this book (probably more enjoyable to women than men).
Mar 04, 2009 Marcella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you liked The Shipping News by Annie Proulx you'll love Donna Morrissey's books. This story follows the story of siblings leaving home - small outport town in Newfoundland - for the money to be made in Alberta's oil boom. Wonderfully drawn family, landscape... just a fantastic read.
Aug 24, 2012 Kerri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Morrissey excels in dialogue. Her characters come to life with their speech. But this does, at times, make it tricky to follow the plot. A bit melodramatic for my taste. Nevertheless, I was moved by the courage of her characters to show love and forgiveness.

Loved it! Amazing characters, wonderful story. Full of place and scenes. A little too much scene and not enough action at times. Why wait to the end to fill in all the parts missing? But as a second novel, it was darn good.

Sep 10, 2009 Runningcyb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story of family and close-knit communities. I was born in Newfoundland so loved the setting and the language. Took me back to listening to stories told to me by my Grandfather.
Judith Anne
I learned more about the Newfoundland fishing community. Also that Ms. Morrissey does a fine turn of a phrase. This was a good followup to Sylvanus Now but I felt the first book was superior.
Jun 04, 2009 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was put off at first by the language - colloquialisms and bad English. The story takes place in Labrador and is somewhat bleak. If you can get into it, though, the story is satisfying.
Daniel Kukwa
It's just as well written & well characterized as Donna Morrissey's "Kit's Law", though I found that earlier novel to be a bit more engaging, story-wise.
Deb Mohr
Oct 05, 2012 Deb Mohr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Canadian author well worth reading if you love the east coast, or even if you are not familiar with Atlantic Canada
Sep 01, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A NF saga by a Halifax NS author that paints a vivid picture of life in outport NF in WWII; excellent choice.
Marlene Bayers
May 20, 2014 Marlene Bayers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of my favourite NL books. It's been a bit of a push to get through it and it is worth it
Mar 08, 2012 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50-in-2012
This a an OK novel. I certainly enjoyed Kit's Law more.
M is currently reading it
Jul 17, 2016
Jocelyn LeBlond
Jocelyn LeBlond rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2016
Sarah Irvine McIntyre
Sarah Irvine McIntyre marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2016
Jeff added it
Jul 23, 2016
Carol rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2016
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Donna Morrissey is the award-winning author of Kit’s Law, Downhill Chance, What They Wanted, and Sylvanus Now, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She recently wrote a children’s book, Cross Katie Kross, illustrated by her daughter, Bridget. Morrissey grew up in The Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland & Labrador and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
More about Donna Morrissey...

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