“Grist is grain that has been separated from its chaff in preparation for grinding.”
Thus the title as it refers to the life of Penelope McCabe in Nova Scotia in the late 1800’s. Penelope meets and marries Ewan MacLaughlin, a miller. Ewan is a no nonsense controlling sort of a man and Penelope soon realizes that life is not going to be easy for her. Ewan wants a son to eventually take over the running of the mill but Penelope produces daughters. Dealing with a man like Ewan is not easy for Penelope but she perseveres and also learns the running of the mill at Ewan’s insistence. She grows to be a very strong woman in certain ways but I feel maybe she should have stood up to her husband more but that was not a normal thing for women to do then. As a result of his cruelty, Penelope suffers heartbreak after heartbreak but in the end she knows that she needs to do what is necessary to protect her grandchildren from the menace that is their father.
This novel is short but packed with emotion and lets us know how life was for women of this time. I found the milling process interesting and things that we may take for granted now, was the lifeblood of the times. “This is how you were loved….” describes the life of Penelope McLaughlin to her granddaughter Rachel and a fitting end to a unique story. A wonderful historical novel that will be appreciated by fans of this genre.
I received a copy for review and was not monetarily compensated for this review.
— Celticlady’s Reviews