Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #BookReview – The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey reviewed (2017) by Claire Fullerton


For the last post in this series from the archives of author Claire Fullerton, I have selected one of her book reviews. Claire is prolific reviewer and always brings out the best in both book and author…

The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey reviewed (2017) by Claire Fullerton

Because I once lived on the western coast of Ireland, and because author Lisa Cary moved to the island of Inisbofin, off Ireland’s west coast to research her first book, I’ve been following her career for many years. I’ve loved each of her four Irish themed novels, and eagerly awaited the February 7th release of her latest, The Stolen Child. It is a story much like Ireland herself: deceptive in its riddled nuances, more than the sum of its parts.

 

The soul of the story creeps up on you. It takes patience and willingness to allow the magic to take hold, and when it does, it is not by possession. The Stolen Child spins the kind of magic that lulls at the core of your being; affects your consciousness, waits for you to piece it together until you understand. There is little overt in this languid novel, which, again, is much like Ireland. It is a desperate story through and through, yet in the hands of author Lisa Carey, it resonates with mythical beauty, gives you a sense of timelessness, and holds you fast by its earthy, brass tacks.

In pitch-perfect language, Carey wields dialogue specific to the west coast of Ireland’s desolate environs. It is an understated language, upside down to outsiders, but once your ear attunes, you are affronted by the superfluousness of other tongues. All primary characters in The Stolen Child are women. They live cut-off from the mainland of Ireland’s west coast, twelve miles out, upon rocky, wind-swept, St. Brigid’s Island, during the one year time frame of May, 1959 to May, 1960. It is a timeframe fraught with the looming inevitability of the islanders’ evacuation from their homeland, with its generational customs and ties, to the stark reality of life on the mainland, with its glaring and soulless “mod-cons.”

Most of the characters are conflicted about leaving the island, save for the sinister Emer, who has her own selfish agenda, centered upon her only child Niall. Her sister, Rose, is the sunny, earth-mother, unflappable sort, who only sees the buried good in Emer, whereas everyone one else on the island shuns her, for her malefic, dark ways, which they intuit as dark art. Emer has one foot on the island and the other in the recesses of the fairies’ manipulative underworld. It is the American “blow-in,” Brigid, the woman with a complicated past, who has her own ties to the island from her banished mother, that cracks the carapace of Emer’s guarded and angry countenance. Together, the pair explore an illicit relationship, but when it snaps back, Emer retaliates with a force that effects the entire island and twists her worst fears into fate.

The Stolen Child is magnificently crafted, for it is a sweeping story set on a cloistered island, which has nothing to recommend it save for its quays, its view, and its eponymous holy-well. This is a novel rife with character study that is quintessentially Irish, yet applicable far afield. In themes of motherhood, hope, desperation, and hopelessness, the characters take what little they have and wrestle it into making do. It is the power of steel intention that drives this story, and the reader receives it from all conceivable angles. I recommend The Stolen Child to all who love Ireland, to all who love an exceptional, creative story, and to all who love language used at its finest. All praise to the author Lisa Carey. I eagerly await the next book.

©Claire Fullerton 2017

Books by Claire Fullerton

My review for Mourning Dove from 2018A family set within the opulent culture of the Deep South 

I am not sure that anyone who is not born into the opulent, and long cultivated upper echelons of Southern culture, would be able to slip into its charming, but strictly adhered to rules of engagement easily. Especially when you are on the cusp of your teen years and brought up in the very different environment. As are Millie aged ten and her brother Finlay, who is eighteen months older.

“We had Minnesota accents, we were white as the driven snow, and we both had a painfully difficult time deciphering the Southern accent, which operates at lightening speed, and doesn’t feel the need for enunciation. Instead, it trips along the lines of implication.”

Posey comes from an affluent Southern family and was brought up in a sprawling stucco French Chateau which she left having met a charismatic and rich Yankee. Her marriage is over, and the wealth that she is accustomed to is gone; and she has little choice but to return to her family home in Memphis. She slips right back into society where she left off, as she takes over the running of the house, and with four years until an income will be available from her inherited trust fund, other means must be found.

The intricacies of the society that the two children find themselves inserted into, has little relation to the outside world. Steeped in tradition, long forged alliances, eccentricities and acceptable behaviour, stretching back through many generations. Little has changed, and that is the way it is orchestrated to remain. Clearly defined roles for males and females are perpetuated in the schooling that prepares the young to continue the status quo into the future, and non-conformity is frowned upon. You will fit in or face exclusion.
I was provided with an ARC copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is about the relationship between a brother and sister and is written from Millie’s perspective, now 36 years old, as she revisits their childhood and teenage years. She is looking for answers and clues as to where her relationship with Finlay, which had been so solid and close, began to disconnect. Without a doubt for me one of elements that is crucial to this, is their mother, and Claire Fullerton has done a masterful job in creating her self-absorbed but somehow vulnerable character.

“My mother did not walk into a room, she sashayed, borne from the swivel of her twenty-four inch waist. Her name was Posey, and although there was a lot more to her that she ever let on, to all appearances, the name suited her perfectly.”

The story is not fast paced, flowing smoothly as it meanders through their lives of Posey, Millie and Finlay. You are drawn into their experiences, and you find yourself mentally bookmarking certain events and revelations, that explain how such a close bond became disconnected. I found myself engaging with the main characters early on, and I became emotionally attached to them all. Those of us with brothers and sisters can find parallels in our own relationships, especially those that might not be as close as they were when growing up.

Mourning Dove is elegantly written with a brilliantly descriptive language that has you immersed in this very exclusive and opulent society. I dare you not to read, and not come away with a distinctive drawl of lightening speed, without the need of enunciation!

Buy the books and audio editions: https://www.amazon.com/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

Read other reviews and follow Claire on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7388895.Claire_Fullerton

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

Connect to Claire

Website: https://www.clairefullerton.com/
Blog: https://cffullerton.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfullerton3
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.fullerton.79

My thanks to Claire for letting me loose in her archives and I hope you will head over and enjoy reading through them as much as I have… Thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Ireland – The Thing about Galway (2016) by Claire Fullerton


This is the third post from the archives of author Claire Fullerton, and I have selected another of her pieces on life in Ireland as I am sure you will enjoy as much as I do

The Thing about Galway (2016) by Claire Fullerton

The Thing about Galway

Even on the best of days, when the weather is temperate and the sky soft and cloudless, Galway City has a worn, secondhand feel to it: an historic, pensive, erudite quality everywhere you roam down its serpentine streets. But there’s also an energetic undercurrent to Galway that seems to thrive on the idea of opposites, which lends the atmosphere a certain air of unpredictability. In many ways, Galway seems like a lively college town, bordered on one side by the dark gray patina of Galway Cathedral, and the ever turbulent River Corrib on the other, which flows straight to Galway Bay on its way through the Claddagh. It’s an undefinable, mood-setting, soul-stirring town with a split personality; it is vividly animated by its youthful culture, yet deeply haunted by its storied past.

To Debra Wallace, who was born and reared in Letterfrack, fifty miles north in rural Connemara, Galway was the pinnacle of urban grandeur. At the age of twenty seven, she’d blown into town carrying her dreams and her guitar to set up house in a two-story rental, on the edge of lower Galway’s Henry Street. She was an accomplished musician with a whisky-edged singing voice, and her dreams involved joining Galway’s vibrant music scene. The second I met her, I thought she embodied everything it meant to be Irish: She was big eyed, russet-haired, quick-witted, nobody’s fool, howlingly funny, and spiritually attuned. She gave our friendship no probation period when we first met at The Galway Music Centre, for there was nothing suspicious or cynical about her, though she was disarmingly shrewd. Upon learning that I am an American, she put her hand on her hip, narrowed her eyes to a slit, and give me the once over. Then she set her guitar case down and invited me to call out to her house for a cup of tea.

I had no idea what to expect as I made my way to Debra Wallace’s blue painted door. It rose up from the sidewalk, sandwiched in a row of matching gray structures, each with a pitched roof emitting turf smoke that permeated the residential area in an aroma so redolent it made my eyes water. I rapped thrice on the door, and it swung wide immediately. Stepping onto the uneven cobbled brick floor, it took a minute for my eyes to adjust in the shadowy room, for it had only one window and it seemed the haphazardly arranged turf in the fireplace had reached its crescendo and now glowed in a burnt orange aftermath. The heat in the small room was stifling. I took off my raincoat and made to set it aside on the folded futon against the wall, just as I brought the four chairs before it into focus, where three figures looked up at me expectantly. Debra lowered herself onto the forth chair and motioned for me to take the futon as a voice disrupted the damp air.

“Well, you weren’t telling a tale about that blonde hair of hers, God bless it; must have taken ages to grow,” the voice said.

“Claire, this is my mother; Da sits there, and this is my sister Breda,” Debra introduced, handing me a cup of tea.

“Nice to meet you,” I said. It was then I recognized where Debra had acquired her penchant for the once over, for all three Wallace’s studied me head to foot.

“You’re an American,” Mr. Wallace stated. He was short and stout and leaned forward in his chair, with his hands on his knees and his steady stare beaming beneath his tweed flat cap.

“Yes, I’m from Memphis, Tennessee,” I confirmed.

“Ah, Elvis and all that,” Mrs. Wallace said, who looked to be, in tandem with her husband, the second installment of a pair of square, blue-eyed bookends.

“That’s right,” I said, then I searched for a way to escape their scrutiny. I knew I could turn the tables if I could use the standard Irish conversational stand-by. “It looks like it’ll rain any minute,” I said, looking at Mr. Wallace.

“It does, yah. We brought the weather with us all the way from Letterfrack, so we did. If you haven’t been there, you should come see us. It’s God’s country up there; not much chance for the young ones to run the streets.”

“So I moved here,” Debra said with a wink.”

“Speaking of streets, we should get going,” Breda said. “We’ve only come to town for the one day.”

We all stood simultaneously, making our farewells, and after Debra closed the door behind her family, she asked me if I wanted to accompany her to the epicenter of Galway City, which is an area known as Eyre Square.

“There’s a card reader up there, her name is Harriet,” she said. “As long as you’re one of us now, I think you should see her.”

“Don’t you have to make an appointment?” I asked.

“For what?” Debra said. “Don’t be so American. Let’s just walk up the road and call out.”

What could have been a ten minute walk up Shop Street took forty five minutes, for such is the nature of Galway. There is no way to set out from point A to point B within the confines of scheduled time because there are too many people milling around, everybody knows everybody, and it is a crime against Irish society not to stop and chat to the point of exhaustion. I stood idly by as Debra engaged in Irish banter time and again, which is to say that each exchange felt like joining a running joke that had been going on for a while, and we had simply stumbled into its midst. It is a game of wit-topping one-upmanship, this business of Irish banter, and as we made our way to Eyre Square, I was starting to catch the rhythm.

Two heavy wooden doors lead the way into the back of an atrium on the north side of Eyre Square. Debra heaved the doors apart and ushered me inside to where a canvas marquee had a chalkboard before it, which read, “Readings with Harriet: 12 euros.”

What happened next is another story.

But the thing about that day is that it was exemplary of the spirit of Galway, where anything can and does happen, on any given day. This wasn’t the first or last time I’d slid into the day thinking it would go one way only to discover it had seguewayed into quite another. Because there’s an energy to Galway that will catch the unsuspecting unaware. It emanates from the dichotomy of its nature, its marriage of opposites, its union of past and present, and at its foundation are the fluid Irish people, who know a thing or two about embracing the flow.

©Claire Fullerton

Books by Claire Fullerton

One of the reviews for A Portal in Time

A beautiful story, artfully woven between two time periods, A Portal in Time is also a portal for the reader to a gorgeous setting and a haunting romance.

Despite the century between the lifetimes of the main characters, this book slips seamlessly from era to era. Claire Fullerton lends a unique and lovely voice to two distinctly different courtships, contrasting late Victorian and contemporary romance and binding them together with a thread of perennial love. Neither time period overshadows the other; instead, they fuse into a seamless and nuanced tale of love, triumph and tragedy across lifetimes. And although this type of story has the potential to become overwrought with connections and coincidence, Fullerton maintains a light but firm touch from start to finish. As in Dancing to an Irish Reel, she writes in such a way that you want to linger over every word like a glass of fine wine. A Portal in Time was every bit the delight I expected and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys tales of enduring love.

Buy the books and audio editions: https://www.amazon.com/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

Read other reviews and follow Claire on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7388895.Claire_Fullerton

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

Connect to Claire

Website: https://www.clairefullerton.com/
Blog: https://cffullerton.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfullerton3
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.fullerton.79

My thanks to Claire for letting me loose in her archives and I hope you will head over and enjoy reading through them as much as I have… Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Potluck – Notes on Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday Celebration in Beaufort, South Carolina (2015) by Claire Fullerton


This is the second post from the archives of Claire Fullerton, and this week a birthday celebration for renowned author Pat Conroy. An event over several days that clearly was a highlight for Claire.

Notes on Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday Celebration in Beaufort, South Carolina (2015)  by Claire Fullerton

Notes on Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday Celebration in Beaufort, South Carolina

It’s a long way from Southern California to Beaufort, South Carolina, but there was only one way to attend my favorite author’s 70th birthday celebration. In my mind, Pat Conroy is the king of American literary letters; his gift of lyrical language and sense of place is unparalleled, and I’d have rather flown across the country to meet him than anyone else in the world. Oh, I hemmed and hawed and weighed and measured to exhaustive degrees before I remembered life is short and I should grab onto its once in a lifetime opportunities with both fists. So I booked my passage and accommodation, bought my event tickets online, and attended what was billed as the University of South Carolina’s “Pat Conroy at 70” celebration. It was a three day celebration of Conroy’s work, beginning with the movie screening of “The Great Santini” followed by two days of panel discussions from writers touched and influenced by Conroy’s rarified way with language and prose, and ending with a birthday cake the shape of the shrimp boat “The Miss Lila,” featured in Conroy’s masterpiece, “The Prince of Tides.”

As a writer who hails from the South, I was in my element, yet hadn’t expected to feel this way. All around me were vibrant, chatty book lovers and Southern writers so lit with joy and enthusiasm at the thrill of simply being in this literary icon’s presence that it was like being in an ecstatic beehive with a jury of my peers. In this day and age of instant gratification and technological immediacy, book lovers are an esoteric lot, but you wouldn’t have thought this in the crowd assembled to celebrate Pat Conroy; it wouldn’t have crossed your mind that there was anything else going on in the world outside of the event, and if it had, it wouldn’t have mattered. Within the walls of the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts, an overarching spirit of what I can only describe as pure love radiated from pillar to post, connecting each person one to the next in an inclusive, tribal embrace. And there in the midst sauntered Pat Conroy, humble, bemused, self-effacing, and accessible, comporting himself as if three hundred of his closest friends had gathered in his living room.

The thing about book people is nothing else lights their fire in quite the same way as a good book. A good book opens interior doors, calls things by name, and grants permission for the reader to take the risk of feeling outside of the parameters of self-consciousness and vulnerability. A good book tells us we are not alone in this world, that it’s okay to be human, and that there is safety in numbers. I think this is why so many flocked to bask in the glow of Conroy: to many he is the bearer of the cross; the keeper of the literary flame; the way shower who has mastered the art of storytelling in such a way that it suggests there is rhyme and reason to this business of living.

What struck me the most about Pat Conroy is his humility. He is the kind of guy who is baffled by his own impact. He possessed a kind of wide-eyed, child-like wonder at the realization that so many came to attend a three-day conference in his honor. And because he is sincerely interested in writers and what they have to say, he sat in the audience of every panel discussion with rapt attention, as if it were he who had something to learn from the authors who read from their works and expounded on his virtues.

I can’t recall what I expected from the weekend celebration of Pat Conroy’s life, for it has now been supplanted by what actually transpired. All I remember was the demanding, inexplicable lure of wanting to be a part of it because I sensed, in some dramatic fashion, that there would be something for me to take away, to pocket in the archives of my own literary journey that I would value forever. And I will. I will value forever the fact that Pat Conroy has not only shown me what is possible with the written word, but what is possible should one find themselves with the distinction of wearing the mantle of fame and acclaim.

Pat Conroy exudes docile grace and a generosity of spirit that takes him outside of himself and into the arena of an inclusive, generous camaraderie with all people. He stands not only as an example of how to comport oneself as a writer, but as an example of dignity and decency in how to be a human being.

©Claire Fullerton 2015

Books by Claire Fullerton

One of the reviews for Dancing to an Irish Reel

I just finished DANCING TO AN IRISH REEL and feel like I’ve been on a mini-vacation to Ireland. The descriptions of Galway and surrounding area are fantastic and the location is a major part of the plot. I’ve spent time in this area of Ireland and the author’s descriptions of the land (and the people) is spot-on.

Hailey worked in the music business in LA and when she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life, she took a vacation in Ireland. She ended up being offered a job at the Galway Music Center that was set up to publicize local traditional musicians and she decided to take the job and stay in Ireland. As she struggles to learn more about the Irish culture and people, she makes some good friends – both through her job and in her community who help her better understand the people. She is instantly drawn to a musician, Liam, but their romance is rocky to say the least. He is totally immersed in his music and doesn’t seem to know how to have a relationship. She begins to think that the problems in their relationship are due to the cultures that they grew up in. It’s a beautiful story of the uncertainty of new romance.

This is a beautiful written story of Hailey’s romances — with Liam, with the Irish people she comes in contact with and especially with Ireland and the beauty of the land. I highly recommend this book!

Buy the books and audio editions: https://www.amazon.com/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

Read other reviews and follow Claire on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7388895.Claire_Fullerton

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

Connect to Claire

Website: https://www.clairefullerton.com/
Blog: https://cffullerton.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfullerton3
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.fullerton.79

My thanks to Claire for letting me loose in her archives and I hope you will head over and enjoy reading through them as much as I have… Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from your Archives – #PotLuck – On an Irish Bus (2015) by Claire Fullerton.


This is the first post from the archives of author Claire Fullerton whose book Dancing to an Irish Reel is set in Ireland, where she has family links… In Ireland we do things a little differently when it comes to strangers. We welcome them and engage with them. Everyone has a story to tell and being a land of storytellers, the more that are told the merrier. In this post Claire shares a delightful example of this.

On an Irish Bus

On an Irish Bus (2015) by Claire Fullerton.

He would have stood out anywhere, and standing in front of the entrance to a boutique hotel in Spiddal, wielding a black walking cane with an ivory handle two paces before made him glaringly incongruous to everything I’d come to know about the western coast of Ireland. He wore a three piece suit on his gentle frame: black, with gray stripes the width of angel’s hair, with a fitted vest, tailored trousers, complementary cravat, and a black Fedora angled just so.

I looked out from my window seat on the bus from Carraroe to Galway. It was one of those old kinds that looked as if it once had a life as an elementary school bus now put out to pasture. With aluminum rails on the seats before, the bus would take off noisily, gravel scattering beneath its wheels before I had a chance to sit down. The bus driver greeted me in awkward English. It took a few rounds of greeting me in Irish before he finally realized I am an American, and his guttural salutation now came out sounding like something a little to the left of “Hiya.”

The bus rolled to its customary stop on the coast road that runs through the heart of Spiddal. There is no sign there; the stop is force of habit because years of driving this rolling route through Connemara told the driver where travelers would be standing shielded from the vagaries of Irish weather.

Heads turned as the dapper, elderly man mounted the bus. He steadied his gait with his cane and favored his right foot up the three steps then halted beside the bus driver to beam his greeting. Out of the corner of my eye, trying not to stare, I saw the man tip his hat repeatedly to the right and left as he made his way down the aisle to the vacant seat beside me.

“Nice day,” he said to me as he took off his hat and placed it on his lap. “Going into town, is it? Where you go every day?”

“Yes,” I said caught by surprise and thinking nothing gets by anybody around here.

“Kearney’s the name, Seamus Kearney,” he offered himself. “You’re an American, yah?” he asked in that way the Irish have of answering their own question.

“Yes,” I answered.

“From the South, is it?” he continued.

“That’s a good ear you have. Yes, I’m from Memphis, Tennessee, but I spent the last five years living in Los Angeles,” I clarified.

“God helps us all,” he said with a wink. “And what is your name, then?” he prodded.

“Claire Fullerton.” I shook his offered hand.

“And your middle name then? Have you Irish connections?”

“Yes, I have Irish connections on both sides. My middle name is Ford,” I said.

“Ford,” he considered, wrinkling his brow. “That’s an odd middle name for a girl.”

“Yes, perhaps,” I said. “But I’m not an odd girl; I promise.”

“Now the Fords, they’re from around these parts. They’re old as the hills and Irish as the soil. Many are up the road in that old graveyard by The Centra,” Seamus Kearney said. “So they called you here, they did,” he said in more of a statement than a question.

“No, actually it was a whim that brought me here. I never knew any of my Ford relatives. Most of them died before I was born.”

Seamus drew in his breath in that audible sigh the Irish do, when they’re getting ready to say something poignant. It is a sound with a world of understanding contained: one part camaraderie, the other commiseration. “So, they called you here, they did,” he reiterated patiently. His white eyebrows raised encouragingly, as if leading a child along the road to good reason.

“Yes, definitely,” I complied.

“Ah then, there it is, so. We in Connemara don’t see the need in being parted by a little thing like death,” he said.

I couldn’t wait a second longer; I couldn’t help but ask, “Do you always dress like this?”

“Like what?” he asked genuinely unaware, which made me wonder if I’d put my foot in my mouth.

“You look so nice; I was only thinking that,” I said, the heat rising to my face.

“Pride of person’s not an unpardonable sin,” he said. “Now let me ask you what it is you do in town.”

The next thing I knew, I was explaining everything I did at my job in Galway, while Seamus gave me his rapt attention, with a pleased look on his face. Had I still been living in Los Angeles, a conversation like the one I had with Seamus Kearney would never have taken place. One simply did not divulge personal information to a stranger in Los Angeles without thinking it would come back to haunt in some unexpected way. But this was Connemara, and the Irish have a way of exchanging pleasantries in a manner that is somewhere between an exploration of and commentary on this business of living. It is an art so subtle you have to narrow your eyes or you’ll miss it; it comes creeping softly wearing white cotton socks and sensible shoes.

The bus rolled to a stop at the Spanish Arch, down by the quays in Galway. I stood up to disembark. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Kearney,” I said.

“Call me Seamus, please,” he returned. “I live just by the church there in Spiddal. I’d love for you to call out any time for a cup of tea,” he said, with his blue eyes smiling.

“Thank you so much, I will,” I returned, and as I got off the bus to head over the River Corrib’s bridge, I turned to wave to Seamus Kearney and knew without question I would.

©Claire Fullerton 2015

Books by Claire Fullerton

One of the recent reviews for Mourning Dove

MOURNING DOVE by Claire Fullerton is a compelling and thought-provoking story of family, culture and the true meaning of home. Set in the 1970s in Memphis, Tennessee, young sister and brother, Millie and Finley, struggle to fit in to the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing. Thrust into their new home in the South when their mother divorces their father and leaves him behind in Minnesota, they soon learn that all is not as it seems and in Memphis’ elite society, appearances are everything. Finley appears to adapt more easily than Millie, but there may be more to Finley’s charming and easy-going nature than meets the eye. Millie relies on her close relationship with Finley to keep her grounded in her new world. The writing is beautiful and the multi-layered story kept me engaged from beginning to end. The descriptions of Memphis during this age were so vivid, I felt like I had taken a trip back in time to this colorful city, not just to the homes of the wealthy socialites, but also to the seedy bars where the music scene was beginning to flourish. There are parts of the story that are hard to read, but there are also moments where the strength of the emotional bonds between the members of this dysfunctional family is portrayed with understanding and compassion. I enjoyed this moving book and highly recommend it.

Buy the books and audio editions: https://www.amazon.com/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

Read other reviews and follow Claire on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7388895.Claire_Fullerton

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

Connect to Claire

Website: https://www.clairefullerton.com/
Blog: https://cffullerton.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfullerton3
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.fullerton.79

My thanks to Claire for letting me loose in her archives and I hope you will head over and enjoy reading through them as much as I have… Thanks Sally.