About this book
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In the early twentieth century, Andrew Zak proposes to Rosalia Patala in a letter. New to North America, Rosalia boards a train from New York to Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, where she marries a man she knows only through the written word. They lose their first child, face the dangers of hazardous coal mines, and raise a family of four children on their homestead.
But, like time-worn cloth, this true story contains holes and Monica Kidd, poet, journalist and great-granddaughter to Andrew and Rosalia, is compelled by them. Did Andrew and Rosalia court? Why did they each leave Slovakia? Many years later, Kidd travels from her home in Newfoundland to Alberta and then Slovakia, where she trails the ghost of Rosalia in search of why she, and so many women like her, launched themselves into the terra incognita of becoming a frontier wife. In prose as beautiful as her poetry, Kidd describes the life-altering journey that decodes the mysteries of her family’s past and weaves the threads of the tale into this uncommon biography.
"Too often, the stories of working men and women were bulldozed by the expansionist bluster of the western frontier. Monica Kidd reminds us that there was hope, sacrifice, love, and laughter behind the forgotten faces in the family album. This is a love story and a detective story, sure to please all who have longed to know their family origin and thus themselves."
"Any Other Woman tells a story that is unique and commonplace at the same time. Many readers will likely relate to Kidd's interest in her ancestors, and may even be inspired to learn more about their own genealogy."
"An engaging mélange of memoir, oral history, travelogue and family genealogy.… Kidd is a poet and novelist who is especially skilled at melding the conversational style of her book with a lyricism that shimmers.”