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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Pilgrimage opens in the deep winter of 1891 on the Métis settlement of Lac St. Anne. Known as Manito Sakahigan in Cree, “Spirit Lake” has been renamed for the patron saint of childbirth. It is here that people journey in search of tradition, redemption, and miracles.

On this harsh and beautiful land, four interconnected people try to make a life in the colonial Northwest: M
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Brindle & Glass
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  97 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Ruth Linka
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that doesn't tell a 'happy story' on the surface of things but tells a GOOD story, one that touched me and has stayed with me. It's made me think about 'happy' stories and what they mean to us and why we need them sometimes but why this kind of book that tells a 'true' (still fiction) story is so important to me.

Women do not have an easy life in Pilgrimage, little power, little freedom and little hope. But they still live these incredible lives. 1891 is a time of chang
Carol Thompson
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing

The three female protagonists all speak for women of their time in a way that is honest and clear. The voices of these characters resonated with me and invited me into a time where women were definitely bereft of choices. This is a sad story but it is honest.
Jessica Kluthe
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First, the sweep of the sentences in Pilgrimage is enough to pull in any reader, and then, within this well-crafted novel, we encounter a rich part of our Canadian history, but--and importantly--from the perspectives of those sometimes placed outside of traditional historical narratives. Pilgrimage provides an all-encompassing reading experience, and while doing so, we see the (often violent) intersections of cultures and can understand the importance of recognizing the weight of this collision, ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway! Am looking forward to this read, and will post a review when complete. Thanks to the author for making this book available to Goodreads readers!

Just finished this book this morning. I'm so grateful I was introduced to this book through Goodreads! I've never really written a review before, but am glad to write an honest one on Diana Davidson's first novel Pilgrimage. It is beautifully written, and I think this author is one to watch
Lyn Zuberbuhler
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Diana Davidson's first historical fiction novel is a worthwhile read. Her characters are fictional but the times (late 1890's) are well researched and depicted. She explores the life of the Metis settlers in Lac Ste. Anne after the Riel Rebellion, as well as the circumstances which bring new settlers from the British Islands. Her characters are well drawn and believable, and the brutal life each experiences well described.
The setting includes Fort Edmonton, St. Albert, Fort McMurray, and the wi
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting historical fiction piece about northern Alberta in the late 1800's with some great characters. It is very well written and the traditions/life styles are well portrayed.

I found the gay episode very odd. It did not fit within the book and seemed like something that was unlikely given the main woman's character. It was as if the author was looking for something to make the tale more exciting but I found that it did not really fit in this book. I think the story was interesting enough
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A strong debut novel. The northern Alberta setting was particularly interesting to me, as was learning about the history/importance of Lac St. Anne (a place I didn't really know about, despite having driven by it countless times).

And also, I started reading it on a day that felt like winter, with icy air and a thin blanket of snow covering the ground. That felt quite appropriate (not just because of the cover design, but because of the setting and tone of much of the book as well).
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well-written, compelling story. See my full review at The Winnipeg Review.
Fascinating local history woven into a nicely paced story of well drawn characters.
Meagan Houle
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those rare books that forces me to sit up, take notice, and become enraptured. It's the kind of book you can't gulp, and it's definitely not the kind of book you forget about days after you've finished reading it. It's an authentic, (and very well-researched) piece of Canadian fiction, which gives us a glimpse into the lives of the women who came before us. My knowledge of Canadian history has, up until this point, been factual, dry, and sequential in nature. I learned everything ...more
Oct 11, 2014 added it
Truly one of the worst books I have ever read. Cannot believe that this author teaches writing
Mar 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, canadian, fiction
I’m flabbergasted, frankly, at the liberty Diana Davidson took to write Indigenous lives as a white person. Her epilogue/author’s note does little to change my deep disappointment in a person who should know better. Having encountered her multiple times over the past two-ish decades between the U of A and the library world, I am shocked at her self-righteous tone of entitlement. I borrowed the book from the library believing it would be a settler’s tale... but the settler characters are asides. ...more
A great historical fiction set right in my home province of Alberta! I really enjoyed reading setting something set in a different time than other things I've read, and learning a bit about Alberta's history. The story was told from various characters point of view, which made it more enjoyable and broad. I really liked knowing the characters' inner thoughts and really felt the connections between them all.

(Read for the Book Riot 2017 Read Harder challenge - read a book that is set within 100 m
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm so delighted when a debut novel is engaging and the prose seems to have a flow that has you floating along with the story. Diana Davidson has written a novel with such descriptive and accurate insights into life in 1891-2 living in northern Alberta. You sense the harshness of the elements of winter. You are charged with emotional sadness of the residential schools unnecessary brutality. And compassion overflows at the struggle of women overpowered by bullies and the consequences or lack of.. ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very good first novel for author Diana Davidson. The understated, elegant, and brutally honest writing style drew me in as a reader, and I appreciated the insight I was given into a culture I previously knew little about. I regularly drive past Lac St. Anne on my way between Edmonton and my home northwest of Grande Prairie, and I will certainly never do so again without thinking of this story and its interesting cast of characters.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
The issue of appropriation is addressed in the notes at the end of the story. Local historical fiction is important for understanding where we came from. I imagined this whole story inside the recreated fort at Fort Edmonton Park.
Reia Lance
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A satisfying depiction of what life would have been like during the 1890’s in Northern Alberta. Written believably, carefully and with tremendous love. I enjoyed the journey very much and look forward to future work by Diana Davidson.
Bob Mcinnis
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
The best of the Alberta Book Publisher's Readers' Choice awards nominees. A dark, yet inspiring tale of life and survival in Northern Alberta in late 19th century ...more
Jan 18, 2014 added it
Good but predictable.
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Kerry Lynn
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Jen Jacobs
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Diana Davidson lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Davidson's writing has been long-listed for the Canada Writes CBC creative nonfiction prize (2012) and has won the Writers' Guild of Alberta "Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize" (2010). Her work has appeared in Alberta Views, Avenue Edmonton Magazine, The Winnipeg Review, Women's Words as well as the academic anthologies Analyzing Mad Men and Spectral America

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