Where does one person end and the other begin? That's the question that haunts Irene, a girl growing up in Toronto during the Great Depression. Living with her father, a pharmacist who finds comfort in the bottle, and her mother, a woman teetering on the edge of her own depression, Irene's crumbling family situation mirrors the economic and social turmoil just beyond the front door of their respectable, working class neighbourhood home. As she grows into a young woman, Irene finds herself consumed by her mother's increasingly erratic moods and isolated in a world where unemployment, poverty and bigotry have taken firm root. Yet in the midst of lives that seem lost, Irene finds strength in the unlikely form of David, a young man from the Jewish farming community of Sonnenfeld, Saskatchewan, who is fighting his own battle for dignity, hope and a place in the world.
"A gleaming debut, a terrific first novel...compelling social history ... every character is sincerely drawn; these sentences just gleam. The Stubborn Season is one of those rare novels I look forward to reading again." --THE TORONTO STAR
"Davis' portrayal of her [Margaret's] descent into madness is particularly moving. It's a tall order for one novel, a very ambitious undertaking for Davis. The story stays tight, with all of the subplots fully played out without detracting from the novel's main focus. Indeed, this is Irene's story, one of triumph and maturity during a time period that did not offer a woman very many options, and in a family situation that offered her even less. The way that she deals with the challenges in her life demonstrates a character of strength and inspiration in any era, while the setting against the backdrop of the 1930's combined with the other themes of political unrest and anti-Semitism make for a novel that also captures a piece of history for contemporary eyes." --womenwriters.about.com
"The Stubborn Season is precise, polished ... bind[s] the attention through the excellence of its sharp, precise prose, generously laced with authentic history. Davis's astute psychological observations render the two main characters insistently real ... Davis refuses to succumb to the predictable ...The Stubborn Season raises the bar for first novels."
--The Gazette (Montreal)
"Lauren B. Davis's The Stubborn Season ranges through a wide landscape of history and intimacy, thwarted private dreams and public oppression ... a skilful weaving of emotion and event ... poignant and well-crafted. [The Stubborn Season is] an epiphanic hourglass for the harsh dust that trickled through one of the worst of times."
--The Globe and Mail
"Lauren Davis's debut novel, The Stubborn Season, is as close as you'd want to get to the Depression without being there ... meticulous research informs everything ... The writing is clean, direct, and efficient ... Remarkably, in spite of such dire circumstances, Davis makes us believe that the following generation can come through the Depression with little damage, still trusting and resourceful, and stronger for having lived through this grim, stubborn season."
--Quill & Quire
"Poignant and compassionate, this remarkable first novel details the coming of age of two young Canadians during the Great Depression. The public and private tyrannies they face are various and intriguing and the characters complex and memorable. Davis puts a human and individual face on suffering, whether it results from the collapse of an economy , or the failure of a family. Because of the exceptional quality of the prose, the result for the reader is pure pleasure."
--Robert Adams Reading Series
"A fine novel in the great Canadian storytelling tradition, Lauren B. Davis's voice is as authentic, compelling and deep as a Mordecai Richler or Robertson Davies at their best. . . . The Stubborn Season is tremendously evocative of a time when hardship wore very thin the veneer of civilization, bringing out both the best and the worst in people. A real literary achievement."
--The Paris Voice
"THE STUBBORN SEASON has the sting of authenticity. The writing is sharp as glass, the sorrow felt and the release on end, redemptive. "
--Barry Callaghan, author of The Barrelhouse Kings and Hogg, the Seven Last Words
"...well researched and crisply written...Davis's talent is unmistakable... she evokes with harrowing precision. ... Margaret is one of the most memorable characters I have encountered in contemporary Canadian fiction... inspiring...Davis's portrayal of Depression survivors shows the human spirit can be amazingly strong and resilient."
--The National Post