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The Last Will of Moira Leahy: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 13, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Walsh's satisfying novel follows Maeve Leahy, a brilliant young professor, in her pursuit for answers about her family and herself. When she impulsively bids on a keris—an ancient Javanese dagger—at an auction house, Maeve's orderly life spins out of control. Anonymous notes appear on her office door, with provocative hints about the origins of the keris, unleashing memories of Maeve's onetime musical ambitions and the loss of her twin, Moira. When a note urges Maeve to visit Rome, her best friend, Kit, persuades her to go. There she finds Noel, her rakish love interest, who is trying to solve his own family's mysteries. He helps Maeve navigate the bewildering questions and characters in Rome while making his romantic ambitions clear, much to Maeve's indignation and secret fascination. Walsh ably shifts between Maeve's current quest and flashbacks showing the twins as children, revealing little by little the story behind Maeve's grief. While Maeve sometimes comes across as self-involved—even for a woman on a personal quest—Walsh's pleasing blend of mystery, romance and the supernatural is enough to keep readers rooting for the heroine. (Oct.)
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Review

Finalist for the 2010 RITA Award for Best First Novel

“Walsh's satisfying novel follows Maeve Leahy, a brilliant young professor, in her pursuit for answers about her family and herself. [She] ably shifts between Maeve's current quest and flashbacks showing the twins as children, revealing little by little the story behind Maeve's grief. . . . [A] pleasing blend of mystery, romance and the supernatural.”
Publishers Weekly

“Walsh’s debut is a magical, involving journey, one that mixes a compelling mystery from the past with a suspenseful search in the present.”
Booklist

“Mystery, romance and historical elements blend together in this captivating debut. The magical adventure will take readers on a journey of the heart that reunites the souls of twin sisters. Walsh weaves an enchanting, poignant and enthralling tale.”
Romantic Times Book Reviews

"Moira’s confused emotions—envy, guilt, passion and regret as she deceives the boy she loves and usurps her sister’ s place—are delineated with heart-wrenching believability."
Kirkus Reviews

"A hauntingly beautiful story about grief, the language of twins, and the healing power of a bond that is stronger than death. The characters of Moira and Maeve will linger long after you finish this amazing first novel."
—Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader

"The Last Will of Moira Leahy is haunting, exotic and romantic–the way Gothic tales are romantic, wrapped in luscious, dark atmosphere. It's a magical debut and I can't wait for more from Therese Walsh. She's one to watch."
—Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells

“This book made me want to ignore my work and neglect my children. The Last Will of Moira Leahy offers an irresistible combination of mystery, romance, psychological complexity, and lovely writing. I devoured it.”
—Leah Stewart, author of The Myth of You and Me

"Tender and transcendent, Therese Walsh’s debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy is a captivating look at the truths we conceal, the scars we bear, and the journeys we all must take in order to find our way back home, back to ourselves. I loved every magical page.”
—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Time of My Life

“Is there anything more worthwhile than being taken by the hand by a true and gifted storyteller and shown a world that is at once mysterious, mesmerizing and filled with characters who deeply touch your heart? A dark psychological tale of secrets and betrayal, suspense and passion, The Last Will of Moira Leahy is a book that makes you forget everything and just spend the rest of the day and night reading. Like Rebecca, this is a tale so well told that it keeps you in its grip and doesn't let go, haunting you long after you've turned the last page. If it were written by a seasoned novelist, The Last Will of Moira Leahy would be a feat. That it is a debut makes it all the more amazing. Bravo!”
—M.J. Rose, internationally bestselling author of The Memorist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307461572
  • ASIN: B005Q6MIQC
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,538,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Therese's second novel, The Moon Sisters, was published by Crown in March, 2014, received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and was named one of the Best Books of the year by Library Journal. Its working title, in case you're curious, was The Book That Tried to Kill Me. It had a few other titles as well, including The Foolish Fire of Olivia Moon.

Her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy (Random House), was named one of January Magazine's Best Books of 2009, was nominated for a RITA award for Best First Book, and was a TARGET Breakout Book.

Therese is the co-founder and editor in chief of Writer Unboxed, an award-winning website and online writing community. Among other accolades, Writer Unboxed was named one of the top 101 sites for writers in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 by Writer's Digest.

Therese has a master's degree in psychology. She was a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine before becoming a freelance writer and eventually turning to fiction.

Therese is an award-winning haiku'ist, thanks to Jimmy Kimmel, Carlton Cuse, and LOST.

She hopes that you'll enjoy her novels, and invite her to Skype with your book clubs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. Ramer on October 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Twenty-five-year-old Maeve Leahy is haunted by the tragic accident of her twin sister, Moira, nine years ago. Since then, Maeve, the vibrant twin and saxophone prodigy, has shut down her emotions and shut out the music, leading a lonely and sterile life as a professor of languages in upstate New York. But she can't resist the call of a keris, a Javanese dagger, that she buys at auction. The keris leads her to Rome, and to danger and romance and a confrontation with the past and the present.

The chapters alternate between the present in Maeve's voice and the past in Moira's voice. Walsh is an artist with words, using them exquisitely, painting pictures with a few strokes that evoke emotions. Yet the pace is quick, the scenes enchanting, compelling me to read on.

This is Walsh's debut book, and I'm thrilled to think she'll have many other books for me to read in the future. Soon, I hope!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vaughn Roycroft on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
This story opens with a bang, when Maeve Leahy feels strangely compelled to attend an auction, and then to bid on and purchase a Javanese blade called a keris. I was immediately hooked, drawn into Maeve's suddenly turbulent world.

We quickly glean that something tragic has happened with Maeve's twin, Moira, and that the keris Maeve has purchased seems--at least to her--to possess a mystical power. The blade and the special bond the twins share both become apt metaphors over the course of the tale, relatable and adaptable. Walsh deftly entwines so many literary devices and techniques, I wondered briefly just what genre I had wandered into: mystery, paranormal, spiritual, romance--what was it? I quickly surmised it didn't matter, and surrendered to be carried along on her lovely prose.

Indeed, very early on, I fell in love with reading this book. By that I mean I loved the actual process of reading it--not something that always happens for me, even with some books I end up liking. The primary, present-day storyline is carried by a sharp, first-person narrative from the point-of-view of Maeve herself. But this is pleasingly interspersed with a progressive back-story told, with a perfectly distanced third-person point-of-view, by her twin Moira. The style has a comforting cadence, but also builds an increasingly urgent tension.

This book has it all: a mysterious talisman with a dangerous side, a journey (actually a fine travelogue for Rome), a romance, a dark past, and spiritual revelation, all carefully woven into a satisfying story and an emotional journey for the reader. I found myself wondering if Walsh was actually a: twin, Javanese weapons expert, sailing aficionado, musician, travel agent, linguist, or all of the above.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K.Wagz VINE VOICE on September 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Enough. Just light enough. Just dark enough. Just perfectly balanced and just enough.
Maeve and Moira were twin girls who lived with their family on the Penobscot. They lived
with loving parents, an adventuring grandfather and good friends and neighbors.

Like so many twins they shared a special closeness, and even a language between just the
two of them. For years they had all that they needed in just themselves in the security of their
family. Time passes. Things change. A mothers well meaning choices came back to haunt them all. One
day, a boy came into their lives and things changed forever.

The story of how Maeve lived after the changes, and what happened to this loving family..
is entrancing, magical at times and filled with sorrow and loneliness. Just for a while.. and
then as they do, things changed. They changed because Maeve found a strength in her she didn't know she had.
She was prodded by her father to step out, step forward and to live. A wise man, he was. He set both of his daughters free.

Read this book. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teresa M. Vatan on November 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Quirky books that I really enjoyed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan on December 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For some reason I assumed that this book was some kind of British type novel set in the past. The cover, the name of the character, and even the author's name made my mind leap to those conclusions. But I was wrong.

How to describe this novel? It's set in the present-day, with flashbacks to twin Moira and Maeve's childhood and teen years in Maine. The flashbacks help advance the story about the riff between Maeve and her family, and the reasons that Maeve is so reluctant to get involved and to trust people.

The story opens when Maeve buys a keris at auction, an old curved knife that reminds her of her youth when she and her sister played pirates. Once she has the keris, odd things begin happening. Her father sends her to Italy on the trip she and her sister should have taken after high school. This time away both helps her to separate from her sister's legacy and finally come to terms with the fact that she will always be a part of her.

As for the genre-bending? It's part romance, part mystery, part mystical fantasy, a family drama with a bit of adult coming of age thrown in . . . If you like any of these genres but aren't exclusively interested in one type over another, you might find this book to your liking.
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