No Good Asking: A Novel

Kimmel, Fran

  • A profoundly moving exploration of our capacity to heal one another.

    Ellie and Eric Nyland have moved their two sons back to Eric’s childhood farmhouse, hoping for a fresh start. But there’s no denying it, their family is falling apart, each one of them isolated by private sorrows, stresses, and missed signals. With every passing day, Ellie’s hopes are buried deeper in the harsh winter snows.

    When Eric finds Hannah Finch, the girl across the road, wandering alone in the bitter cold, his rusty police instincts kick in, and he soon discovers there are bad things happening in the girl’s house. With nowhere else to send her, the Nylands reluctantly agree to let Hannah stay with them until she can find a new home after the Christmas holidays. But Hannah proves to be more balm than burden, and the Nylands discover that the only thing harder than taking Hannah in may be letting her go.

    Also available as an audiobook!


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  • Fran Kimmel is the author of The Shore Girl, which was named a CBC Top-40 Book and won the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award in 2013. Fran’s short stories have appeared in literary journals from coast to coast and have twice been selected for The Journey Prize Stories anthology. Born and raised in Calgary, Fran now writes and teaches in Lacombe, AB.

  • Published: October 2018

    ISBN: 9781770414389

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 288


“Nuanced characters and attention to detail make what could have been a saccharine story a deeply moving one instead. Highly recommended.” — Booklist

“Quietly powerful … In less careful hands, this story could have come across as sentimental or melodramatic; instead, it takes shape as a guardedly hopeful tale of resilience.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The humanity in Fran Kimmel’s No Good Asking is as big as the hearts of her arresting characters. In genuine, unaffected prose, this story builds from the first page to its satiating finale. An achingly good story.” — Lee Kvern, author of 7 Ways to Sunday

“Quiet and honest, No Good Asking is deeply rooted in western community, and in the small virtues that have large significance for people’s daily lives. With grace and clarity, Fran Kimmel shows how the ordinary milk of human kindness, given the minor catalyst of a child’s despair, can generate new life.” — Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault

“Kimmel's writing is lovely and exact. What I most enjoyed about this book is how the setting became a character in and of itself. No Good Asking absolutely nails the sense of isolation and doom, coupled with the timeless, otherworldly quality of a week spent ‘snowed in’." — WordMothers blog

“A compassionate tale about a family in crisis . . . Readers can expect their hearts to both break and warm.” — Prairie Books NOW

“The quiet, subtle descriptions of family life are most compelling . . . Reading this book felt like getting a big warm hug, and I think it's descriptions of our connection to landscape and weather will ring true with many Canadians living in rural areas . . . Kimmel deftly creates a world that is easy to relate to, yet insular all at the same time.” — I’ve Read This blog

“Perfect for December reading . . . Kimmel deftly explores family, love, loss, hope, redemption and more in No Good Asking. This was an unexpected gem of a read for me.” — A Bookworm’s World blog

“A humdinger of a Christmas story . . . Kimmel's characters are lovingly drawn, from the autistic child who panics at any change in his surroundings, to the old man whose non sequiturs provide a touch of humour. Her scenery is evocative too . . . Occasional bleakness aside, No Good Asking is a feel-good kind of story — exactly what every Christmas story should be.” — Alberta Views

“Kimmel’s novel has only a few characters, but they all possess presence and depth and experience honest changes. The strong sense of place serves as an additional relationship for the characters to negotiate.” — Library Journal Starred Review

“Moving … The seemingly mundane scenes — a family dinner, for example — are the most powerful in the story and demonstrate our capacity to heal one another through compassion and kindness.” — Canadian Living

“Intimate and arresting, honest and profound. From one of Canada’s finest voices in fiction, No Good Asking is a soaring read that explores the messy bonds of family life with humanity and heart.” — Ali Bryan, award-winning author of Roost and The Figgs

No Good Asking is a complex, emotional exploration of the deeply personal aspects of existing within a family. With care and sensitivity, Kimmel excavates the hopes, dreams, secret desires and profound wounds of a winning cast of characters. This is a novel filled with poignant insights into the truth of human hearts. As I read it I kept it close—like a friend I wanted to get to know better. When it was over, I felt bereft for days. I look forward to what Kimmel writes next.” — Marissa Stapley, bestselling author of Mating for Life and Things to Do When It’s Raining

“A fine stocking stuffer.” — Toronto Star

“So movingly true is this beautifully touching book that every single person will capture your heart in some way, every moment will resonate with its just-out-of-grasp possibility, and every emotional near-miss will make you weep with frustration at what might be lost . . . Kimmel gives a whole wonderful book of those moments and it’s a joy to behold, a heart-affecting reminder that we owe to ourselves and others always to look well beyond first impressions.” — Sparkly Pretty Bright blog

“Fran Kimmel’s latest novel No Good Asking is an unforgettable narrative that grips the reader right from its harrowing opening scene and doesn’t let go until it reaches its poignant conclusion. Intimate and engaging, it’s a wonderful read that’s impossible to forget.” — PRISM International

No Good Asking pulls readers into the story hard and fast, offering a satisfying but perfectly incomplete conclusion.” — Buried in Print

No Good Asking is an honest book about the frailties of humankind; it captures our interest and shows us what we can achieve with compassion.” — Prairie Fire