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The Disenchanted Widow: Book summary and reviews of The Disenchanted Widow by Christina McKenna

The Disenchanted Widow

by Christina McKenna

The Disenchanted Widow
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Aug 2013
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In the bleary summer of 1981, Bessie Halstone, along with her son, Herkie, flees Belfast to escape her husband's IRA debts and the Dentist, an IRA lackey who thinks Bessie's got the money. But when her car breaks down in sleepy Tailorstown, Bessie realizes a woman can only go so far on a tight leash. Laying low, she finds work as a housekeeper for the parish priest.

Lorcan Strong, a painter with failing hands, receives his own notice from the Dentist: his debt has come due. Fearing for his life, Lorcan escapes Belfast and returns home to Tailorstown, where a twist of fate throws him headlong into the Bessie's path - and both find they are forever bound to their troubled pasts.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Debbie-Lyn C. (Kitty Hawk, NC)

The Disenchanted Widow
A wonderful book full of twists and turns that touch almost every topic imaginable; good and evil, young and old, religion, mystery, food, hope and dreams all leading up to a delightful ending.

Mary B. (St Paul, MN)

The Disenchanted Widow
In the summer of 1981 a young widow is forced to flee Belfast with her son to start a new life. She finds herself in a small rural community with a mixture of interesting individuals, which she will have to interact with regardless of how she feels about them. The reader comes to know these characters as their stories are also unfolding as we read. The stories of these other characters become involved with her story, some of them being dangerous. The turbulence taking place in Belfast that summer reaches the small community. I enjoyed this book very much. The characters were unique. Her journey's twists and turns made for suspenseful reading.

Renee P. (Sanford, FL)

Breathless in Ireland
The first couple of pages took some getting used to, it is written in a rather frenetic fashion that sort of left me breathless at times, and I did not think I was going to like it. But for this book, once I got a little further into it, in this time period of early 1980s Belfast, Ireland, with all its political uncertainty varied with the outlying country settings of arcane silliness, that frantic feeling that one must gulp down the words as quickly as possible method of getting the plot lines out and jumping seemed an appropriate fit. Indeed, I read this book quickly in just 3 days.

By the end I was rather sad to leave the trials and tribulations of the quasi-heroine of this story.

Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)

Enjoyable read
Bessie Lawless, recently widowed and her son, Herkie leave Belfast quickly to escape an IRA goon known as The Dentist. Bessie's late husband, an abusive alcoholic was mixed up with the IRA and stole money from The Dentist. On her way to her sister's house, unexpected car troubles land her in the village of Tailorstown. The local mechanic rents her his aunt's house and she gets a job cooking for the local priest. She becomes involved with some of the locals, including Lorcan Strong who also is trying to avoid The Dentist. The ending was clever and unexpected. My only criticism is the author in my opinion overused the local dialect a wee bit.

Helen S. (Sun City West, AZ)

In the Driver's Seat at Last
From the moment I first met Bessie in The Disenchanted Widow, I was cheering for her! In fact, I couldn't put the book down until I found out if she could and would make a new life for herself and her son, little Herkie after she left Belfast. The author created several memorable characters among the Tailorstown locals, and their behavior even had me laughing out loud at times. I highly recommend this book with its optimistic tone suggesting that the future will be better than the past when you have faith in your dreams and the courage to overcome many harsh obstacles along the way.

Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)

Belfast 1981
It's Ireland in the midst of the troubles. Bessie's husband is dead and the IRA is after her. She and her young son run off to hide and end up in a small village..interested? The story is a mixture of hope and fear and I read it in 2 days because I had to find out how it ended.

...15 more reader reviews

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Christina McKenna is a graduate of Belfast College of Art, where she gained an honors degree in fine art, and later a postgraduate degree in English from the University of Ulster. An accomplished painter and novelist, McKenna has exhibited her art internationally and in Ireland, and taught art and English for ten years. She is the author of the highly praised memoir My Mother Wore a Yellow Dress, as well as the nonfiction books The Dark Sacrament and Ireland's Haunted Women, and a previous Tailorstown novel, The Misremembered Man. She currently lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, the author David M. Kiely, with whom she collaborates on occasion. Visit her at www.ddd.dircon.co.uk

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