I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.
Delighted to share my review from April 2020 for Under a Dark Cloud by Irish author Mary Crowley
About the book
Under a Dark Cloud is a grippingly emotional story of shattered dreams, haunting nightmares and bitter memories. Kelly Henderson wants reprieve to emerge from Under the Dark Cloud that shrouds her life.
Kelly Henderson returns to Bunreen, a small town nestled in the South East of Ireland, weeks after her husband’s tragic death, wanting to re-establish a relationship with her mother and sister. However, as the taxi approaches her old home, she is harshly reminded of the night her mother Lorraine banished her to live with her father in Scotland, when she was only fifteen years of age.
Kelly’s’ heart is heavy and her grief raw, but she must keep strong as she soon discovers there are more secrets within the family. While Lorraine’s indifference to her pain gives renewed determination to right the wrongs of the past and prove she had not been lying about what had happened to her as a teenager. A wrongdoing that led to the breakdown of her marriage and in Kelly’s mind, inevitably caused her husband’s death. It’s time to take back control and get the reprieve she deserves.
Nessa Quinlan has a simple but happy life with her devoted husband Liam; however, her life is turned upside-down when her estranged brother contacts her to say he is dying of cancer. Nessa had broken all ties with Donald after he had killed a local teenager in a road accident showing no remorse.
Kind-hearted, Nessa becomes his carer which concerns her family and best friend Clodagh, but Nessa has more to contend with than the disagreeable Donald, with ghosts from her past threatening to cloud her happiness, which in turn puts a strain on her marriage. This is not helped by Donald refusing medical treatment until one day Kelly arrives on their doorstep as his new Health Nurse.
Can Nessa save her marriage? Does Kelly hold the answers to Nessa’s problems, or will her presence bring further recriminations?
Under a Dark Cloud is Mary Crowley’s second Novel following her Debut A Sweet Smell of Strawberries, a heart wrenching tale of a mother’s loss when her son, a talented athlete is killed.
My review for the book 4th April 2020
I read and enjoyed A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and was looking forward to reading Mary Crowley’s second novel and was not disappointed.
There is some continuity from the first book which featured characters on the edges of the main story, who now take centre stage in this novel. This did help bring me in to the story right from the start and although a stand alone book, you would gain a great deal by reading the first book.
The women in this story all have fractured pasts, trauma, loss and challenging personalities. Kelly and Nessa have secrets and unresolved issues that are now influencing their relationships and their futures. Their families are also going through challenging times and those who you would expect to be supportive and trustworthy are holding on to their own darkness.
In this small town evil is lurking and it will take strength of character, resolve and courage to confront it and move on from the devastating repercussions of its impact on individuals and the community.
Mary Crowley has created wonderful characters and even those who are dark and unlikeable are compelling. The threads of each character’s story from the past to the present, are woven into a complex and interconnecting web of lies, mystery, trauma and secrets. The reader is left guessing who might be the perpetrator of the actions that have resulted in both Kelly’s and Nessa’s turmoil, and there is a surprising ending that brings the story to a satisfactory close.
It is a well written family saga, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing and I am sure that like me, you will enjoy reading Under a Dark Cloud.
Also by Mary Crowley
About Mary Crowley
Mary Crowley is a Contemporary Irish Literature Novelist and Freelance Writer. Author of Under a Dark Cloud and A Sweet Smell of Strawberries, she is also the winner of The Waterford Writers’ Weekend Short Story Competition (2016) with her story entitled The Three Sisters’. Mary’s work focusses on strong emotional relationships, adding humour, hope and most of all heart.
Mary lives in County Waterford, on the South East Coast of Ireland, with her husband and three children. Having worked for many years as a qualified dental nurse, and dental health educator whilst bringing up her family. She is now concentrating on her love of writing. She has had stories published in Writing.ie, one of which was inspired by her literary heroine Maeve Binchy. Several short fiction pieces published in Flash Fiction Magazine, along with articles in Woman’s Way, the Irish Times and local newspaper The Munster Express. Having studied courses in creative writing and journalism, she is currently working on several writing projects along with doing freelance writing.
When she is not writing, she loves reading and spending time with her husband John and their three children Damon, Steven and Katie, though they are growing up too quickly. Her most favoured way of family time is travelling to new and interesting places in her beloved VW Camper.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review for Mary’s book and will head over to discover more about her.. thanks Sally.