Author: Heather Marshall
Published by: Simon & Schuster on Mar. 1, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
For readers of Joanna Goodman and Genevieve Graham comes a masterful debut novel about three women whose lives are bound together by a long-lost letter, a mother’s love, and a secret network of women fighting for the right to choose—inspired by true stories.
Tell them you’re looking for Jane.
When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession in a stack of forgotten mail, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane…
As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.
After discovering a shocking secret about her family history, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.
Weaving together the lives of three women, Looking for Jane is an unforgettable debut about the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice—and the enduring power of a mother’s love.
Absorbing, poignant, and heartrending!
Looking for Jane is a harrowing, moving novel set in Toronto between 1960 to 2017 that introduces you to three young women as they navigate the torment and fallout of a world where unwed mothers are sent to homes, deprived of basic necessities, coerced into relinquishing their parental rights, and unnecessarily punished viciously, babies are bought, adoption information is sealed, abortion is not legal and expensive back alley butchering is often the only choice, and an incredible network of caring professionals endanger themselves in order to provide safe options while rallying for change.
The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are strong, vulnerable, determined, and brave. And the plot told from multiple perspectives, is a compelling blend of life, loss, secrets, surprises, heartbreak, abuse, survival, motherhood, female friendships, pregnancy, infertility, and the history and legalities of abortion.
Overall, Looking for Jane is a compassionate, enlightening, timely tale inspired by true-life events that is a haunting reminder of just how much physical, psychological, and emotional abuse young unwed women endured and shockingly highlights that even though we’ve come so far in respect to women’s rights and body autonomy, in some respects, we still have a long way to go. It’s a book that ultimately needs to be read to appreciate just how well-researched, beautifully written, and extremely memorable it truly is.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.