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A Distant Prospect Kindle Edition
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A Distant Prospect is about an impoverished young girl and her journey to riches. I do not mean these in the traditional sense of the words. She is not materially poor, not really, but she is poor in spirit. She is broken, and does not know how to ask for help. Her mother is dead, she is crippled by polio, God does not (it seems) answer her prayers, and, to avoid more pain, she has hardened her heart to those who love her most.
To cope, she poured herself into the things that make sense -- mathematics and music. These loves open her heart just enough for a friend to slip through, and her life will never be the same again.
I lived Lucy's journey as she lived it. Ms. Young made her life so real. I laughed and I cried, I was angry and surprised, I hated and loved WITH her, and while she lived, I remembered. It healed bits of me, bits that I did not even know were broken, and it gave me hope.
Ms. Young clearly has lived what she has written, and her vibrant writing displays her experience. I have never read music described so vividly and with such understanding, nor have I empathized with a character so deeply. Lucy's life is one we can all relate to, and Lucy's journey to wholeness can heal a bit of brokenness in us all.
Enjoy, for this book is a song of love -- a music that you will never forget.
Young has created a world to get lost in here, populated by a large cast of exceedingly well-developed and utterly endearing characters. When the story opens we are introduced to a fifteen-year-old Irish lass named Lucy Straughan, a polio survivor and talented cellist, and her altogether wonderful father, a gentle soul and devout Catholic whom she lovingly calls “Daid.” Years ago, they fled war-torn Northern Ireland after Lucy’s mother was tragically killed, and they moved to Sydney to forge a new life for themselves. After arriving, Lucy was struck with polio. She was one of the lucky ones who survived, but now she cannot walk without the help of leg braces and crutches (and on bad days, she’s confined to a wheelchair). Lucy feels like an outsider at the posh Catholic girls’ school she attends on scholarship. Bespectacled, shy, and still shell-shocked from the loss of her beloved mother, she also has an enormous chip on her shoulder due to the disease that has left her a cripple.
Lucy’s life changes for the better when she meets Della Sotheby, a sweet-natured girl who comes from a privileged home. Della’s friendly persistence finally breaks down Lucy’s defenses, and the two girls become dear friends. Then when Mrs. Epstein, from whom Lucy is taking cello lessons, decides to form a quartet made up of Della and Lucy and two other talented girls with whom they go to school, Lucy becomes acquainted with fiery Pim Connolly and enigmatic Pheobe Raye.
The four girls bond musically—with Della playing first violin, Pheobe playing second violin, Pim playing viola, and Lucy playing cello—and eventually, they become much more than just musical partners. All four of them have unique crosses that they’re carrying and suffer under the weight of family secrets and tragedies powerful enough to destroy anyone. As they help each other through trials and share each other’s sorrows and joys, each girl’s life is forever changed by their friendship.
There was so much that I loved about this book. Young’s prose is impeccable, and the dialogue between her characters rings utterly true-to-life. There is a large cast of characters in the story, but each has been so deftly created by the author that it’s not hard to keep track of them all (and to fall in love with them all as well). There is the Irish component, too, which invariably delights me. (I absolutely love that Young has Lucy and her dad conversing in Irish—although I don’t understand a word of it!) If you’re a musician, you’ll probably devour all the scenes where the girls are learning how to play together. But even if you’re not musical at all (like yours truly), those parts of the novel are nonetheless captivating and inspiring.
A Distant Prospect is a Catholic novel, to be sure, with references to nuns and Rosaries and sacraments and whatnot, and it tenderly reveals the way the Faith can impact souls; but it is not just for Catholics. I think this book would appeal to a reader of any faith, as its themes are universal. Throughout this engaging tale, Young illustrates the complexity of the human condition—because no one in this book is perfect (with the possible exceptions of Della Sotheby and Lucy’s dad, Morgan, who are as close to saints as any human can hope to be); like all people, they have strengths and weaknesses, and they don’t always behave the way they should. But running throughout the story is the message that no matter what has come before, there is always the opportunity for forgiveness and redemption. And even after enormous suffering, there can be happiness.
It was a joy to see Lucy grow and evolve by the end of the story, from a somewhat bitter girl who has put up a wall around herself and judges books by their covers to an empathetic and charitable young woman who can see beyond the surface and find the good in others. And I don’t want to give any spoilers here...but there just might be a sweet love story, to boot—a chaste one that is perfectly appropriate for teen readers, but even made my middle-aged heart go pitter-pat. But that’s all I’m going to say about that—because I want you to read this book!
A Distant Prospect is now on my list of all-time favorite novels that need to be re-read and re-enjoyed, so I unhesitatingly give it five out of five stars. Highly recommended.
But. After reading A Distant Prospect, I was so touched, I felt like I needed to tell you. Your book. I don't even know where to start. It's so powerful. It's beautiful. It shows me how important friendship is. It shows me the love of God. And it shows me the aspects of a very talented author.
Your characters are my friends now. I honestly don't even think of them as book characters. Oh, yes. I cried when they cried. I laughed when they laughed. I was sad when they were sad. The emotions that are shown in this beautiful books pop out at you, and they make you feel things.
Lucy, Phoebe, Pim, Della, Wally, Daid, Mrs. Sotheby, and all the other characters are a part of my family, Mrs. Annette. I don't want to sound prideful, but they are my family now. :) I feel powerful connections with them.
When I read the "About the Author" here on Amazon, my heart literally stopped beating when I saw that there is going to be a prequel and sequel.
I stopped breathing for 30 seconds. I'm not sure what I did next.
I haven't read a better book in years Mrs. Annette. I am a loyal fan to your book, and I cannot wait until the next books come out. I would love to find a way to contact you to talk. My heart belongs to your book Mrs. Annette. I'm in love with it. :)
Most recent customer reviews
It is sad, happy and funny. As I was reading I felt like I was pulled into the story with Lucy.Read more