From Publishers Weekly
A phone call summons 36-year-old Southern Irish Catholic Ellen McKinnon to her estranged and dying mother's bedside in Derry, North Ireland, in Hardie's brooding sophomore outing (following A Winter Marriage
). The phone call sends Ellen on a brief and darkly nostalgic trip that provides a thumbnail sketch of her past: an abusive first husband (now dead); a stillborn child; her clairvoyant "seeing" that landed her in a Belfast mental hospital; her initial encounter with Liam, who later becomes her second husband. The narrative follows their relationship, as sculptor Liam struggles to make a name for himself in the art world and Ellen's clairvoyance transforms into the power to heal the sick. At Liam's insistence, and with the encouragement of her friend Catherine, a former nun, Ellen begins working as a healer, forcing her to come to terms with her new role in the community and confront the prejudices (both her own and others') that separate northerners from southerners. Hardie's prose has its dull moments ("she was as happy as a lark") and the narrative may be too slow for some, but patient readers will be rewarded with a tender exploration of a woman's search for a sense of place. (Aug. 22)
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