The Girl Across the Sea by Noëlle Harrison – #AudiobookReview – #fictionsagas

The Girl Across the Sea by Noelle Harrison

Book Blurb:

“I need you to find out what happened to my mother. The woman who sent me across the sea to Ireland. And never came to find me.”

Mairead’s world is falling apart. Recently separated, she has returned to her beautiful childhood home in Ireland to nurse her dying mother. But as Brigid sits pale and papery thin, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, she has one last request for her only daughter . . .

Brigid hands Mairead a stunning turquoise necklace and a small black-and-white photograph of her mother, Ellen, a woman she never met. She begs Mairead to go to New York, the last place Ellen was seen alive, and find out what became of her. Mairead cannot ignore her mother’s dying wish.

But when Mairead arrives in America, she is shocked by the secrets she uncovers. In an old church in Arizona she discovers her grandmother was a wanted woman in Ireland, accused of murder. What lies in her family’s past? And what does the turquoise necklace mean?

As she digs deeper, the trail leads Mairead to a small mossy graveyard in Ireland where she might finally learn the truth. But if she does, will she re-open old wounds, and put her own future into terrible danger?

My Review:

Ellen Lavelle realizes she can’t risk returning to Ireland with her husband and young daughter as she harbors a dark secret she hasn’t shared. She leaves them to sail from New York without her and flees, hoping to find a new life.

In the telling of the multi-plotted generational timeline, we are gradually fed the tragic story of Ellen Lavelle, her daughter Brigid, and her daughter Mairead. It is not until the 1980s when Mairead has a tragic turn in her marriage and is made aware of her mother’s terminal condition that she really gets to know the mother who was so cold in her affection for Mairead. Brigid begs her to find Ellen and discover the reason behind her abandonment.

The Girl Across the Sea by Noelle HarrisonAs the reader is taken through the different timelines, the plot digs ever deeper into the characters’ lives, struggles, and talents. We gradually begin to understand how the events that began with Ellen shaped the lives of her daughter Brigid and her granddaughter Mairead.

I had a little difficulty accepting Ellen’s deadly response to the two men who were initially an unexpected rescue. It seemed a bit extreme, although I could certainly understand the anger. And Mairead, rebounding from her failed marriage reacted on the extreme side as well—what I thought was totally out of character.

Mired in the subplot is the family home and the call back to Ireland—there to discover once and for all just who Ellen was and the circumstances that created the misfortune that shaped three generations.

Still, it is well-plotted, well-paced with flipping between the different timelines and characters. The characters were so well developed that when they stepped unexpectedly into the extreme it was disturbing. Descriptions of locations whether Ireland or the US (especially Arizona) bordered on prose, poems, and quotes often lent weight to the often nostalgic atmosphere.

It is an engaging and entertaining narrative, if not emotional and disconcerting at times; the resolution of the castle a bit fanciful, but there is a drive to resolve all the loose ends which are covered admirably in conclusion. It keeps the reader reading (or listening, the narrator also performing admirably).

The CE read The Last Summer in Ireland in October 2022, and greatly enjoyed it. I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library and enjoyed it as well. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Fiction Sagas, Women’s Fiction, Family Saga Fiction
Publisher: Tantor Audio
ASIN: B09YVPMN8T
Listening Length: 11 hrs 7 mins
Narrator: Esther Wane
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Girl Across the Sea [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

Noelle Harrison - authorThe Author: Welcome to my Author’s Page!

I’m an Irish author who’s been writing novels and plays for nearly thirty years. My first novel, Beatrice was published in August 2004 which was a bestseller in Ireland. This was followed by A Small Part Of me in 2005, I Remember in 2008, The Adulteress in 2010, The Secret Loves of Julia in 2012, The Gravity of Love in 2018, and The Island Girls in 2020.

My books have been published in over 12 different countries.

I am also published under the pen name Evie Blake and my Valentina Trilogy hit the Der Spiegel Bestseller List in 2013.

In 2014 I was one of 56 Irish Writers included in the anthology and exhibition Lines of Vision Irish Writers on Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and published by Thames & Hudson.

I have also written five plays – Northern Landscapes, Black Virgin, Runaway Wife, The Good Sister, and Witches’ Gets, which featured in Cymera and Audacious Women Festivals in Edinburgh to sell out houses.

I currently live in Edinburgh in Scotland, and I am one of the founders of Aurora Writers’ Retreats, and part of the wellness hub The Space To BE.

If you like stories written from the heart, historical with contemporary timeslip, family mysteries and secrets, and always, always a love story set against evocative landscapes, you might like to pick up one of my books. My aim is to tell women’s stories from the past and present and to give voice to those who are rarely heard. Want to know more about me and my writing, go to http://www.noelleharrison.com

©2022 V Williams

K, luv u, bye

Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis – #Audiobook Review – #ThrowbackThursday

#1 Best Seller in Self Esteem

Book Blurb:

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • A HARPERS BAZAAR BEST BOOK OF 2022 • A PARADE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK • A MARIE CLAIRE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK

In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.

This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.

As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.

Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.

My Review:

I suppose unlike so many others who read and/or listened to this biography by Viola Davis that she was discovered through her signature role of Annalise Keeting. I must confess that we have never really gotten into that series.

No, I’d noticed Viola Davis long before that. Whether it was a bit part or otherwise, I’ve always noticed Ms. Davis. There was always something about her—that strong, confident presence. She commands her parts—delivers. So there was always respect, an interest in the person behind the parts. I always liked her.

Finding Me by Viola DavisHer narrative reminds me that no matter how difficult you thought your own childhood, there is always someone else who had it much worse. That was Viola. While I experienced many of those childhood traumas including poverty, the demon of an under-achieving father (until he split for good), or major hunger, I didn’t often know the massive trauma of extreme living conditions with cold and rats or bed-wetting (thank heaven). Nor did I know the pain of rejection because I was dark-skinned or could walk in those shoes.

Ms. Davis lays it all out. She writes a no-holds-barred account of her childhood, the ugly struggle of young adulthood after she discovered her avenue to independence and then doggedly worked to achieve what might have appeared to anyone else as unachievable.

This is an absolutely riveting account of the fight to claw her way into a profession that no one but a tremendously talented person could conquer. Given she was allowed little sense of self from which to draw, who could have bet on her success, and who else could narrate this memoir with the dark intensely bestowed to those cruel stories. She remembers the scars received along the way, those people who saw the spark, that light in her, and knew she was exceptional.

Did Viola pay some dues? Oh yes, in spades. It wasn’t always pretty—but she is beautiful.

“In the course of playing Annalise, I understood that I was no longer and never was that ugly Black nigga. The role liberated me. I said to myself: All I’ve got is me. And that is enough.”

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Self-Esteem, Biographies of Women, Women’s Biographies
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B09F56PHTF
Listening Length: 9 hrs 15 mins
Narrator: Viola Davis
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Finding Me [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars  4 1/2 stars

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