Merilyn Simonds
Front cover, The Holding by Merilyn Simonds


.   Reviews & Interviews   .

Advance praise for The Holding:

“In exploring the mysterious intertwining of solitude and relationship, Simonds offers a compelling reminder that the natural world lies at the heart of our well-being. Her characters trace an urgant, almost mythic fate in which a stony farmstead becomes the stuff of their own bodies and dreams.”
–John Bemrose

“In Simonds’s gripping tale of two bush women, one contemporary, one pioneer, a wonderful third force is revealed – the euphonic, ubiquitous world of trees, herbs, wildflowers – one with the power to cure, give refuge, and mysteriously map the human psyche. A wondrous book, with no false notes.”
–Claudia Casper

“A mesmerizing novel of parallel lives lived on the edge of wilderness. Simonds’s language masterfully evokes the natural world, and her story is a moving testament to the healing power of that world.”
–Esta Spalding

“Seductive, compelling, The Holding takes us on a haunting journey into the wilds of both the land and the heart. Merilyn Simonds’s cystalline prose is exquisitely crafted – spare, evocative, wise. I was swept away.”
–Sandra Gulland

Quotes from Canadian reviews of The Holding:

“A dense and complex novel…as engrossing as the most intensely crafted psychological drama… compelling, hypnotic.”
–Aritha van Herk, Globe and Mail

“Beautiful and unsettling…one woman calling to another across the years. An extremely sensuous book, a lush book, not to be read in a hurry.”
–Audrey Thomas, National Post

“Weaving shocking revelations and raw emotions at an assured pace, Simonds tells a haunting tale of life in the wilderness.”
Calgary Herald

“Soars and pulses with life…harshly beautiful, The Holding offers both a fascinating plot and an extraordinary sense of place.”
Vancouver Sun

“[A novel] with a fresh psychological twist and a poetic sensibility…its descriptive passages are breathtaking in their delicacy.”
Quill & Quire

“Complex, sometimes tragic, and deeply moving, The Holding will draw you in and hold onto you, long after you put it down.”
Herald Weekend Edition

“Evocative, haunting, seductive. Simonds writes beautifully, imbuing the landscapes she describes with luxurious detail…”
Books in Canada

“Eloquent and haunting…”
Toronto Sun

“A first novel full of poetic imagery and keen observation… Simonds’s poetic touch is delicate yet sure, her prose well matched to the emotional and physical landscapes she has conjured up from the country’s past….”
London Free Press

“Highly accomplished…Beautifully executed and researched…”
Montreal Gazette

“Her precise descriptions of the landscape and its inhabitants…create an authentic physical reality against which the inner lives of the characters are revealed.”
Toronto Star

Interviews & Profiles

“This time, Merilyn Simonds chooses to tell stories as a novel,” by Sarah Crosbie, Kingston Whig-Standard, March 29, 2004.

“A Woman Walks Alone in the Woods,” by Paul Gessel, Ottawa Citizen, April 8, 2004.

“What we remember and what we’ve lost,” by Susan Walker, Toronto Star, May 9, 2004.

Quotes from U.S. reviews of The Holding:

“Simonds is a careful, evocative writer, able to tease out colors from an overcast sky, to find depth in shadows.”
–Sue Halpren, New York Times (Selected as an Editor’s Choice)

“Simonds concocts a portentous mix in this atmospherioc novel…Dreamy, savagely romantic.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Lyrical in its depiction of the merciless Canadian landscape, Simonds’s deeply emotive psychological drama is a spellbinding, ethereal portrait of women pushed beyond their breaking points.”

“…a wonder of a book”
Historical Novels Review