I chose this book because of the Manitoba setting, however, I can't say that the Manitoba setting distinguished it in any way from middle class 1950s life anywhere in the western world. That said, I did enjoy reading this book.
The story is narrated by Beth, who, for the most part is the youngest in the family. Beth's mother and her mother's sisters form the world that Beth grows up in, making this a novel that is about women and what women make of themselves.
Each of the women has a shadow, a part of themselves that hasn't been allowed to develop and as Beth uncovers these shadows she becomes aware of the complexities of life and the way that decisions, or no decisions, can shape the future.
I would describe it as a bittersweet and sensitive novel. It's very gentle and, on the surface, unchallenging (I read it in an evening). Recommended for those of you who enjoy reflective 'family' stories.