What begins as a semi-magical stay at a semi-magical cottage ends as another story about pregnant women at an English Women’s Shelter.
It is not enough to attach 5 generations of women to a tree or a patch of trees to give them character. Yes, one is very old, and one is a felon, and one was a stewardess, and one slept with a dozen different men each time she wanted to get pregnant. But these women remain rootless metalogically, as symbols or devices or even glosses of each other.
Imagine a little fishing village with a general store somewhere in Texas where it rains. There is lots of kindness, and lots of very quirky individuals who don’t mesh, but aggregate. Mostly around a lake. Old maids, young maids, poor beaten women, big burly men, volunteer firefighters, sheriffs, and brutes. Mostly poor, but there is also a very wealthy ex-wife and widow of seven or eight husbands. She runs a Bed and Breakfast, and has facelifts in Dallas, collects lawyers, and establishes the pecking order. In Twisted Creek, however, everybody is poor. Especially Lucky Ali and Grandma who wake up one day to find themselves the beneficiaries of an empty General Store but not much else. They move in and clean and get to know the regulars. The mailman leaves a sack of mail for them to sort and put to rest.
A serious Swede, heir of a prestigious Accounting firm, talks to his tour bus driver who must, like him, return to an unwanted fate, a little farm waiting for him to take it over: “I’m no good at going out looking for sheep that have got stuck on their back with their legs in the air, and turning them the right way up…” .
And somehow the Swede finds himself in a nearby village, at a wonderful old Irish House, eating supper at the same hotel table as a displaced, twice-divorced Hollywood movie star, a bitter retired schoolmistress, an anchorless, childless Dr & Dr couple and a heartbroken librarian with an occasional feel for the future. There at that table he takes out his nickle harp and plays for his fellow guests, who like him, are homeless, and suddenly at home.
The remarkable Maeve Binchy throws these oddments of people together in a place that becomes their home for a time, and from the joyful encounters of strangers comes magic and hope and the exchange of fates.
A cross between a painter, an MFA student, and a woman finds herself attached to charming, untrustworthy male artists and thence to the forgery of a stolen Degas. In between whining about herself and her lacks, she tells us about several famous forgers and shows us how they worked their craft.
Insider’s guide to Heists read with wet, phlegmy voice of “Jake Weber” who may also be Robertson Dean. Read it instead.
Mary and Neil are cousins: sort of, by adoption. They were once, possibly, in love. Neil has returned to Mason, Ohio where he is related to just about everybody, for a summer. He is helping an Aunt turn an oyster of a house into a bed and breakfast.
Mary is married and sad. Neil is her door to the past, and she walks right through it. But even the past changes…..
Sydney has a sister, a reporter, who is murdered. Dissatisfied with her powerful mother’s decision to stop the investigation, she traces the last story of her sister’s career, and discovers some very dirty truths.
Miss Sophie Long is a Catholic School teacher who can’t parallel park, until she meets Lois, Vietnam Vet, trained sniper, mechanic, and lesbian. They live in the same neighborhood as Morgan, a size 16-18 police detective with a demented mother. At some point, to make ends meet, Sophie and Lois decide to begin killing for hire… bad guys only. And so the story zigzags between 60 year old lesbian couples, sex offenders, wife beaters, fat female cops, drug addicted daughters…. with some brilliant laughs along the way. Beautiful reading as always by Bernadette Dunne.
Listen to the sample of Dearly Departed by David Housewright, narrated by Michael Kramer.
Hunter Truman was a man who preferred what Winston Churchill called “short Anglo-Saxon words”…words usually reserved for those moments when you hit your thumb with a hammer, or stub your toe in the dark.