a seven year ache by fisher lavell

Fisher Lavell – A Seven Year Ache

Rosie Kelvey is a spirited and willful prairie woman of the early twentieth century whose ache to pursue her own desires goes against the harsh and limiting moral landscape of her time. She has what the neighbours teasingly call “two men on her hook”: an older, passive husband and a virile, young lover.

But life is perilous for those who are poor and female, a fact with which Rosie wrestles as her baby sister dies of fever, a starry-eyed teen sister succumbs to a botched abortion, and an angry, “bad-behavin’” sister is dragged away to the Winnipeg Home for Wayward Girls, to be sterilized under the eugenics policies of the time.

Yet, Rosie’s ache for fun, excitement, passion is “in full swing” and undeterred by the misfortunes befalling others all around her, she is drawn headlong towards an all-consuming flame.

Through Rosie’s eyes and in her fresh, lusty voice, Fisher Lavell explores themes of poverty, loss, and upheaval. Based closely on the hardscrabble lives of the author’s errant aunties, A Seven Year Ache paints their tragedies, heartaches, and passions on a large and vibrant Prairie canvas.

About the Author

Fisher Lavell

Fisher Lavell is a working-class writer. Born to generations of rural poor, she was blessed with a trove of untamed stories and the stubborn will to tell them.

She was raised on the outskirts of Swan River, Manitoba, in a one-room shack; no plumbing, no phone, no vehicle. A curtain strung over a rope separated the area with the bed from the one with the wood-burning stove, the table, and one small, hopeful window.

They were poor. Yet, they had each other, her mother’s bedtime books, her father’s Country guitar, and a wealth of stories told and retold by mom and dad and aunts and uncles and neighbours in their working-class, storytelling culture.

Neither of Fisher’s parents ever finished grade five. But bright in school, she eventually landed an education and professional training far beyond her family’s wildest imaginings. She has articles and chapters published in her field (psychology and counselling).

But her true love is fiction. And she is the author of many stories and three Roaring River Woman novels, of which A Seven Year Ache is the first. Fisher’s stories are always true to working-class characters, their lives, and their voices. And her thoughts on working-class life as well as writing and reading with class can be found on her Working Words blog at

With two large dogs, Fisher Lavell lives again in her home town, in the house her father built with his own hands. She can often be seen at a distance, a row of blue hills on the horizon, walking the gravel roads and endless green fields of the Swan River Valley.

Donna Besel:

Donna Besel is an award-winning author of the ground-breaking memoir The Unravelling: Incest and the Destruction of a Family (University of Regina Press). Donna grew up at West Hawk Lake and her “boreal stories” have earned national recognition. When she’s not writing, she leads workshops for students of all ages. The forests of Eastern Manitoba, where she has always lived, provide endless ideas and settings.


Sep 25 2022


2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Skip to content