Excerpt from The Nightingales of Troy by Alice Fulton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Nightingales of Troy

by Alice Fulton

The Nightingales of Troy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2008, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2009, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I got so caught up I hardly noticed the incense and adoration. The next thing I knew, we’d genuflected and were out on the grass again. I spread the cloth and unpacked the bill of fare. I always cooked day and night before the Sisters visited, and then they’d peck away with their puny appetites, selecting a tidbit here, a morsel there. I’d made a round of beef, fricasseed chicken, potato salad, picalilli, chili sauce, and rhubarb pie, all the same. I knew from last time they would not touch my homemade root beer because of the word “beer.”

“Mother, is Sister Immaculata a saint?” Charlotte asked. She and Edna were braiding each other’s brown straight hair. The sky had turned dreary, and the trees looked boisterous.

“A saint has to be dead, I guess.” I handed Sister Immaculata a corned beef sandwich and began helping everyone to salad. I didn’t know what to say.

“Sister Honoraria is a saint,” Charlotte went on. “She was struck twice by lightning, and now if someone sticks pins in her, it doesn’t matter, for she don’t feel it.” I thought this must be a great gift to a Sister. I knew from washing our relatives’ habits that nuns were mostly held together with pins.

“Some religious women fancy they are specially singled out for miracles,” Sister Immaculata said, brushing crumbs off her worsted skirt.

I’d seen lightning split a crystal dish without a shatter. I’d seen it roll itself up in a ball before exploding. And I believed it could strike twice if it had a mind to. There were but two things I feared: lightning and a dark cellar.

“Sister Honoraria is Charlotte’s teacher,” I explained. St. Cieran’s was the nearest school. The children went there to be educated with the orphans.

“The Presentation nuns are all very well,” Sister Immaculata said. Veils were flapping, and I had to hold on to my hat.

“Their order is enclosed, and a few decades older in the faith than ours,” Sister Adelaide allowed.

I told Charlotte and Edna, who were dandy helpers, to get a move on and find their little brother. He’d gone to watch some boys carve a cross in a tree, and now with a storm brewing, I’d lost sight of him.

“Mamie, I couldn’t broach this with the children here,” Sister Immaculata said as soon as the girls were gone. “But it is my duty to warn you.” She fingered her beads. Kitty leaned forward, egging her on. “It’s passing strange how some vowed women believe they’re doing God a great favor instead of thinking the world well lost.”

“Obedience comes more readily to some than others,” Adelaide explained.

“There have been allegations concerning Sister Honoraria,” continued Immaculata.

“Concerning her past,” said Adelaide.

“Don’t be grabbing Sister’s spectacles,” I told baby Dorothy.

“It is said that Sister Honoraria was called back from a foreign mission, and that she engages in excessive penitential practices.” Here Immaculata touched the big black crucifix shoved under her belt. “What’s more, this Sister’s conduct with a priest was deemed . . .” She paused and puckered her lips. “Familiar. He was observed to impiously venture to touch her hand.”

“It is said,” Adelaide put in.

“You mean there was a scandal, Maggie?” The shock made me forget and call Sister Immaculata by her Christian name.

Kitty was in her glory. I could feel her nerves shaking next to me. “The nun in the garden,” she said.

The girls came skipping over then, dragging my Joseph behind them, and we had to shush. There was no more talk of Sister Honoraria, though Kitty kept trying to sneak up on the subject. The storm held off, and we spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the grounds, greeting old cronies, and telling each other what a grand time we were having in this heaven on earth before the sun got low and the train left for home.

S

The nuns came and went without any uproar, and it must have been a week after their visit that Edna raced home in a great state of emergency. I was putting sheets out to dry on the lines and hedges when she skidded into the yard, out of breath, yelling Mother Come Running! Sister has fallen! “Sister is down?” I said, stopping my work to listen. When I’d heard enough, I left the little ones with Kitty and took off down Bog Road at a good clip.

Reprinted from The Nightingales of Troy by Alice Fulton. Copyright (c) 2008. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!