Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dinner with Lisa by R L Prendergast

Publisher: Dekko Publishing
Pages: 288
Source: Book Tour
Review: 5/5


Joseph Gaston is a recent widow, trying to raise four children during disastrous economic times. After the roaring twenties came the dirty thirties, and the economy was hit hard, Canada was largely affected as well. Joseph is encouraged to split up his children amongst family to help ease his burden. He knows that would break his heart, and he packs up his children in search of employment. Joseph and his four children board a train from Ontario to Alberta. His brother and sister-in-law welcome him to a small town in Alberta. Joseph is hoping that Philibuster will give him the financial security that he needs for his children. His childless sister-in-law has agreed to take care of his children during the day, and she is ecstatic to have her home filled with children. Joseph arrives hopeful and excited; unfortunately the job that he had secured before he left has been given to someone else and Joseph is crushed. He clings to the memory of his wife, and the hope that he can survive with the help of family.


I’m always intrigued by Canadian history, and I was happy to have a chance to review this book. I had no idea that I would enjoy this novel as thoroughly as I did. The characters were fantastically written and developed. Each secondary character had a great storyline. The economic times were historically accurate and very well portrayed. History focuses on the facts; literature transports you to a time and place. Readers begin to live the lives of those people in those situations. A well written historical novel has readers enjoying the ride, and unknowingly learning the facts.

Joseph’s situation is dire, and his brother is very nonchalant. They made a great pair, Henri thought the world of his brother and always had faith that we would get through anything. Henri and Tilda were happy to help with the children, but Tilda has her own motives. She’s always wanted to be a mother and she would love to take Joseph’s children to raise as her own. Joseph must work to gain his children’s attention.

Prendergast has created a great Canadian historical read; he paints a bleak picture of the economic depression with flawed characters and vivid descriptions. The story doesn’t have a lot of dialogue, but reads very well. The story is perfectly paced, filled with many twists and turned. I highly recommend this one; I really enjoyed each and every page.


  1. I've always been curious about the vast farmlands of Alberta. I'm used to seeing only Ontario. Sounds like a good historical novel.

  2. I haven't read much Canadian historical fiction at all. This sounds very good, especially given a 5/5 rating!

  3. This probably isn't one for me, I love lots of dialogue and character interaction, but I do enjoy lots of twists and turns so that makes it sound much more up my alley:) So glad you enjoyed it Jennifer!

  4. This sounds like a dark and fascinating look at history!

  5. Aww this one sounds a little sad. But I'm glad it's historically accurate and seems to draw and pull out the emotions in a reader. I feel sorry for the protagonist already and you have me wondering if everything turns out alright for him and his family in the end.

  6. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour. I'm so glad you loved Dinner With Lisa as much as I did!

  7. I can imagine that getting the children out of Tilda's clutches would be pretty difficult. I think this sounds like an excellent read, and one that I would really enjoy. I loved this review as well. It was great to get your perspective on a book that I hadn't heard much about!

  8. I love that this one is about Canadian history too!! :) I don't think there are enough books out there that focus on how amazing Canadians can be (*high fives you*), and although this one sounds a little dire and bittersweet, I think that's part of what will make it an amazing book! :)

    Awesome review, Mrs. Q! This is another amazing-sounding historical fiction book that you've put on my radar -- thank you so much!!

  9. I know next to nothing about Canadian history so I think this sounds fascinating.

  10. Hello Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for your review (nice synopsis too!). I'm glad you enjoyed Dinner with Lisa. Receiving such excellent feedback helps to keep me motivated. If your readers are interested they can see a book trailer for Dinner with Lisa at www.RLPrendergast.com.


    R. L. (Rod) Prendergast

  11. Oh goodie! I'm reading this one later this month. So glad you enjoyed it so much!

  12. I'm just starting to get into this one so I kind of skimmed your review. I am happy to see that you loved it so much. I'm liking the writing so far but you never know if the writing and the story will mess in a way that satisfies.