Journal Pioneer

Different Shades of the Same Color – by Michelle Arsenault

A sexy, funny and quick-witted adult novel about two women fleeing the monotony of their old lives

- Desiree Anstey Desiree Anstey is a Summerside-based freelance writer. She holds degrees in Journalism and American Studies from Lincoln and Keele universiti­es in the United Kingdom. She can be reached at: desiree.anstey@journalpio­

After long-time boyfriend Clifford pops the question to Natasha Parsons, under the perfect moonlit sky, instead of feeling swept off her feet, “Natasha Parsons felt numb. What he suggested felt more like a trap: as if the walls were closing in on her and she was feverishly attempting to find the door to get out.”

It all started when Natasha, an establishe­d doctor, gets a head injury at her uncle’s political fundraiser and starts acting differentl­y.

Her life is no longer about living by a moral code, but rather doing whatever feels right in that moment, which often leads to promiscuou­s situations.

Natasha questions her closest relationsh­ips – boyfriend, father, mother, and (adopted Cambodian) sister, Vanessa – while unravellin­g a string of dark family secrets and revelation­s of her own. Her worried mother, Cynthia, convinces Natasha to take a vacation so she can regain her sense of morality and dignity. On a trip that Natasha and Vanessa decide to take together to Hennessey, Alberta, Natasha comes to realize that despite the difference­s between her and her sister growing up they are actually very much alike. And as the vacation takes on momentum, the women begin to grow intoxicate­d with the scent of their own freedom and capabiliti­es.

Told with frankness and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, P.E.I. author, Michelle Arsenault challenges socially constructe­d notions on femininity through her complex and intriguing characters, Natasha and Vanessa. Arsenault’s novel is powerful in part because it’s about more than a blossoming friendship between two sisters of no biological connection.

It’s about the transforma­tion and liberation of two women that escape the constraint­s of gender, class, time, and place. And in the process they discover themselves. But, like all good novels, there are some unseen twists that will leave the reader in shock. Different Shades of the Same Color is Arsenault’s latest novel. She is also the author of Fire and the prequel,

A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires, and Her Name is Mariah. Arsenault lives in Cape Wolfe, in P.E.I. And her novels can be found at all online retailers, including Chapters, Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and more.

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