Bam's Reviews > Our Homesick Songs

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2018-netgalley, canadian-writers, 2018-reads

Set in Newfoundland in the 90s, it seems the once-plentiful fish have disappeared and those who made their living from fishing are moving on from the island of Big Running. But one family who has managed to stay is Aidan Connor and his wife Martha with their two children, Finn and Cora. Their solution is for each to go off to Alberta, alternating one month each, and work in the energy fields.

But that is good for no one...and soon 14-year-old Cora is gone too, leaving 10-year-old Finn behind, the only kid on the island. He must find a way to bring the fish back--and by extension, his sister, his family and the rest of the islanders.

Another part of the book is the backstory of how Aiden and Martha met and fell in love. Each thought the other was a mermaid, as Aiden sang from his fishing boat each night and Martha sang from the shore while she knotted her nets. Is it true that all Connors cheat, as local lore would have it?

Newfoundland itself is of course another character in the story in all its wildness and beauty and the songs of the sailors and fishermen still echo across the waters. "The only, the best, way for them to remember home was through singing, through the songs and tunes they knew from home. When they were homesick, when they needed to remember where they were from, they could sing to see, to remember."

1) Folk Song of Scottish/English origin: "The Water is Wide"
"The water is wide
I cannot get o'er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I

O love is handsome and love is fine
And love's a jewel while its first new
But love grows old, and waxes gold
And fades away like morning dew

There is a ship, its sailing the sea
It's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as my love for him
I know not if I sink or swim

The water is wide
I cannot get o'er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I

And both shall row my love and I 🌹"

Lovely traditional version by Karla Bonoff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EfHZ...

2) Newfoundland Folk Song: "She's Like A Swallow"
"She's like the swallow that flies so high
She's like the river that never runs dry,
She's like the sunshine on the lee shore.
I love my love and she'll love no more.

Twas out in the garden this fair maid did go,
A picking the beautiful prim-e-rose;
The more she plucked the more she pulled
Until she got her a-pr-on full.

Twas out of those roses she made a bed,
A stony pillow for her head.
She laid her down, no word she spoke
Until this fair maid's heart was broke.

She's like the swallow that flies so high
She's like the river that never runs dry,
She's like the sunshine on the lee shore.
She lost her love and she'll love no more.

Tis out in the meadow this fair maid did go
Picking the lovely primrose
The more she plucked the more she pulled
Until she's got her apron full

She climbed on yonder hill above
To give a rose unto her love
She gave him one, she gave him three
She gave her heart for company

And as they sat on yonder hill
His heart grew hard, so harder still
He has two hearts instead of one
She says, young man what have you done

How foolish, foolish you must be
To think I loved no one but thee
This world's not made for one alone
I take delight in everyone."

Elizabeth Mannhardt sings it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtMN6...

3) And one final youtube video for "The Fish of the Sea," a Scottish sea shanty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u5fu...

Many thanks to the publisher and author for providing me with an arc of this heart-warming book via NetGalley for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

June 18, 2018 – Shelved
June 18, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 18, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-netgalley
June 18, 2018 – Shelved as: canadian-writers
August 22, 2018 – Started Reading
August 22, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-reads
August 22, 2018 –
11.0%
August 23, 2018 –
75.0%
August 24, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Debbie I couldn’t get into this song to save my life! Loved how you included it here, though. It is what the book is really about.


message 2: by Bam (last edited Aug 25, 2018 04:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bam Debbie wrote: "I couldn’t get into this song to save my life! Loved how you included it here, though. It is what the book is really about."

Thanks! I wanted to get those in before I even posted my review, which I've now written. I often enjoy listening to the music described in stories such as this.


Angela M Bam, terrific review . Loved this too. Thanks for the song link !


message 4: by Bam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bam Angela M wrote: "Bam, terrific review . Loved this too. Thanks for the song link !"

Thank you! And you're welcome!


Diane S ☔ Wonderful review, Bam.


message 6: by Bam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bam Diane S ☔ wrote: "Wonderful review, Bam."

Thank you, Diane.


Dorie  - Traveling Sister :) Great review Bam :)


Karen Awesome review Bam!


message 9: by Bam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bam Dorie wrote: "Great review Bam :)"

Thank you, Dorie!


message 10: by Bam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bam Karen wrote: "Awesome review Bam!"

Thank you so much, Karen!


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