For two traumatic days, Livvy Higgs is besieged by a series of small heart attacks while the ghost of her younger self leads her back through a past devastated by lies and secrets.
The story opens in Halifax in 2009, travels back to the French Shore of Newfoundland during the mid-thirties and the heyday of the Maritime shipping industry, makes its way to wartorn Halifax during the battle of the Atlantic in World War II, then leaps ahead to the bedside of the elder Livvy.
Caught between a troubled past, and her present and worsening living conditions, Livvy is forced to pick apart the lies and secrets told by her greedy, prideful father, Durwin Higgs, who judges her a failure, and her formidable Grandmother Creed, who has mysteriously aligned herself with Livvy's father, despite their mutual hatred.
“An aged, almost helpless woman recalls and thus returns to her young, helpless, innocent self. But what can she offer that child? As much hard truth as she can find, a gentle touch, and the rare gift of simply being seen, clearly.”
“Haunting, emotionally insistent, lyrical and powerful in its portrait of two unforgettable women —LIvvy and Gen— whose fates are entwined by a violent act, The Deception of Livvy Higgs is Donna Morrissey's best work yet. Her writing has what Chekhov called ‘indispensable layering of fact and feeling.’ Morrissey has brought the WWII era into the present with the disturbing intimacy of a seance. A rare accomplishment.”
“This hauntingly beautiful novel lingers in the imagination like the sight of a storm-churned ocean, and confirms that Morrissey is one of Canada's great storytellers.”