Erin Healy’s latest novel, “Motherless”, was released a few weeks ago. Being a keen supporter of Erin and her work I was delighted she was willing to respond to a few questions I posed her.
There is also the opportunity for two readers to win a copy of Motherless. More on that at the end of this post.
The tale of two young adults trying to solve the mystery of their mother’s seventeen-year-old suicide.
A whispering voice at the back of my mind reminds me that I’ve been this way for some time. Dead, that is.
The dead have a very broad view of the living, of actions performed out of sight, of thoughts believed to be private. I would know. Losing both parents is a trial no child should endure, and Marina and Dylan have endured enough. They deserve the one thing I could never give them: a mother’s love.
A mother’s love, and the truth.
My children have believed a lie about me for years and years. After all this time I can still feel their hurt in my heart. But the tether holding me to them is frayed from years of neglect . . . and I have to find a way to make my confession before it snaps.
But when the truth comes out, what other beasts will I unleash?
“Why do we lie to the children?” someone asked me once.
“To protect them,” I answered.
How terrible it is that they need protection from me.
“This is truth: we all tell the stories that we want to believe. We tell them for so long that we forget what we really know. Occasionally we convince others to believe them too.”
Motherless is the story of brother and sister, Marina and Dylan, who are coming to terms with the anticipated death of their father (he’s in an induced coma) having lost their mother many years earlier from an apparent suicide.
Marina, even though only a few years older than 16-year-old Dylan, has taken on many of the responsibilities of being a mother. She is especially protective of him as he suffers from agoraphobia, which can be tremendously debilitating.
Their story is told through the eyes of a first person narrator who has a particular interest in their welfare. This individual takes on a far greater role in their story and especially the key themes as it unfolds.
Healy uses vivid imagery in describing her characters, the Californian coast and the delicacies created by Sara, another key character. At any moment Healy is able to transport the reader into being a cocktail party guest, harvesting grapes in a vineyard or sitting on a surfboard waiting for the next set to roll in.
I particularly appreciated how Healy took me into Dylan’s mind, the young poet who was at his happiest surfing the break outside his home even though stepping out the front door to pop down to the shops crippled him with fear. I know what that feels like.
Lies, deception, grace and forgiveness. Key themes at the heart of most families as they reflect the darkness and light we all must navigate through life.
This is what makes this story so compelling: it could be any of our families that Healy has captured on the page.
Highly recommended.Read More
There is little mention of the Queen of Sheba in the Bible other than that she paid King Solomon a visit having heard of his great wisdom and he worshipped an unseen God. (1 Kings 10:1-13)
This novel greatly expands on the little we know and introduces us to an enchanting, complex Queen who is powerful, fiercely independent, intelligent and very beautiful. We meet her as a child and then retrace her period of exile before becoming Queen. She soon asserts her authority by utilising Saba’s natural wealth to build a greater kingdom. Her council continually badger her to marry and produce an heir, however, she only wants to marry for love.
One of Saba’s trader’s shares his meetings with the King of the northern tribes of Israel who is becoming increasingly powerful in the region. She is soon intrigued and infatuated as the two begin corresponding by letter. He with his songs and proverbs, she in riddles. But a greater need arises as Solomon begins to build a fleet of ships and ports that will negate Saba’s trading capabilities. Sheba takes it into her own hands and sets off on the 6 month journey to pay the King a visit to negotiate access to his ships and ports.
It is on arriving in Jerusalem that this novel takes off as we get to witness a most passionate love affair between the two. The tension simmers for many pages as they seek to understand and be understood by the other. Solomon, tired of his wealth and his huge number of wives, meets his equal. A woman who can inspire, motivate and lift him from his boredom. He is captivated by her.
Sheba resists her feelings for him not wanting to be another conquest. But the more time they spend together the more she sees of the heart of this man. Having grown up worshipping Almaqah, a god of the sun and moon, she begins to realise it’s folly. It is in seeing Solomon’s struggle between his faith and his riches she comes to realise the unseen one is the one true God.
Lee writes beautifully as she always does taking us back in time as observant bystanders to the sounds, smells, and sights of the era. Her authorial skill makes this a most charming and fascinating read. Frankly, I was so disappointed when it ended.
There is an informative appendix that outlines some of the key findings from Lee’s exhaustive research which helped answer many of the questions I had as I read the novel. But one must always remember this is a piece of fiction.Read More