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August Gale: A Father's and Daughter's Journey into the Storm
2011, 260 pages
Barbara Walsh recounts her story of discovering the effects of the Aug. 25, 1935, hurricane that hit the village of Marystown, Newfoundland, where her paternal grandfather was born. When this journey begins, Barbara is 43 years old and knows nothing about her paternal grandfather because her own father, Ron, refused to talk about the man who abandoned his family when Ron was 13 years old. Even Ron's wife of 45 years does not know the story - it was too painful for him to share even with her. Together, father and daughter take an emotional journey to Marystown learning about the 42 children who were left fatherless by the hurricane and meeting long lost Walsh relatives. Along the way, Ron opens up about his father, telling stories of the good times and the hard times when his father left him, his mother and his three year-old brother.
The author wonders - was it worse for the orphans growing up without fathers lost to a force of nature or for her father whose own father chose to abandon his family? Can she learn to understand and forgive the grandfather she never met? Can her father be healed by telling his story? It's a moving story of losses and reconciliation.