Sharla Cody is only five, but has already lived a troubled life - only to find herself dumped on an elderly neighbor's doorstep when her mother takes off for the summer. Although Sharla is not the angelic child Addy Shadd had pictured when she agreed to look after her, the two soon forge a deep bond. To Addy's surprise, Sharla's presence brings back memories of her own childhood in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid-1800s. She reminisces about her family, her first love, and the painful experience that drove her away from home.
I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I've never used an aeroplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that.... So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand times as me, to be loved so exponentially' In twenty-nine years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby.
On the eve of her wedding anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband to come home, listening for his car along the dark, icy roads. As the night draws on, and he fails to appear, Mary reflects on the true nature of their marriage: the secrets, the silences, and the unmentionable yet inescapable fact that for each loss and disappointment, there has been a corresponding physical gain: the woman she once is now imprisoned in mountainous flesh.
Meet Rose and Ruby: sisters, best friends, confidantes, and conjoined twins. Since their birth, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as "the girls". They make friends, fall in love, have jobs, love their parents, and follow their dreams. But the Darlens are special. Now nearing their 30th birthday, they are history's oldest craniopagus twins, joined at the head by a pot the size of a bread plate.
In 29 years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, "The Girls" (as they are known in their small town) attempt to lead a normal life, but can't help being extraordinary.
When a 70-year-old woman finds a five-year-old girl abandoned on her doorstep, she is thrust into a sorrowful past that can only be conquered with the help of the girl who opened her memory - the very girl she is trying to save. This first novel, according to author Jacquelyn Mitchard, is one of "exquisite power, honesty, and conviction...quite nearly without flaws."
Rarely has the experience of being a sister been so poignantly and memorably captured as in Lori Lansens' triumphant novel. The Girls celebrates life's fundamental joys and trials as it presents Rose and Ruby, sisters destined to live inseparably but blessed with distinct sensibilities that enrich and complicate their shared experiences - of growing up, of finding their way in the world, of saying good-bye.
It’s the eve of her 25th wedding anniversary and Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband, Jimmy, to come home. But Mary isn’t just waiting for Jimmy. She is waiting for a mother who accepts her, children she is unable to have, a life beyond the well-worn path from her bedroom to the refrigerator. Mary is waiting for her life to start. As she waits for Jimmy, the night passes into day and it becomes clear that he isn’t coming home. A letter left in the mailbox confirms her worst fears and Mary is left alone to make a difficult decision.
In Lori Lansens’ astonishing second novel, listeners come to know and love two of the most remarkable characters in Canadian fiction. Rose and Ruby are 29-year-old conjoined twins. Joined to Ruby at the head, Rose’s face is pulled to one side, but she has full use of her limbs. Ruby has a beautiful face, but her body is tiny and she is unable to walk. She rests her legs on her sister’s hip, rather like a small child or a doll. In spite of their situation, the girls lead surprisingly separate lives.
Heartbreaking and wise, Rush Home Road tells the life story of Adelaide Shadd, who finds redemption in old age, and Sharla, a five-year-old mixed race girl abandoned to Addy’s care by her white mother. Born in the first decade of the 20th century in Rusholme (inspired by the real town of Buxton), in southwestern Ontario, an all-black community settled by fugitive slaves, Addy Shadd is raped as a teenager and forced to flee the family home. She makes her way on foot to Detroit.