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The Disenchanted Widow Paperback – 27 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (27 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611099536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611099539
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (534 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christina McKenna grew up near the village of Draperstown, Co Derry, Northern Ireland. She trained as an artist before becoming a full-time author.

Her first book, the memoir "My Mother Wore a Yellow Dress", was published to great critical acclaim in 2004. It was described as a "redemptive postscript to over a decade of Irish childhood memoirs, concluding that our past, no matter how painful, need not keep us bound."

It was followed by two non-fiction titles dealing with the paranormal: "The Dark Sacrament" and "Ireland's Haunted Women".

Her first novel, "The Misremembered Man", published in the United States in 2008, is a tragicomedy set in the fictional village of Tailorstown. Contrary to certain press reports, the film rights to this title have not been sold.

A sequel, "The Disenchanted Widow", set largely in the same fictional village of Tailorstown, was published in August 2013.

Christina is currently working on the third novel in the Tailorstown series. Entitled "The Godforsaken Daughter", it's scheduled for publication in 2015.

She's also updated and revised her 2004 memoir, "My Mother Wore a Yellow Dress", which is now available both as a paperback and a Kindle.

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Praise for "My Mother Wore a Yellow Dress".

"There have been many books recalling Irish childhoods published over the last few years, but this one stands out among the rest for the brilliance of the writing".

Irish Emigrant

"Lyrical and elegiac but never sentimental . . . "

Waterstones

Praise for "The Misremembered Man"

"McKenna's ability to create real human drama . . . reminded me of Brian Moore's simply wonderful The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearn."

The Washington Times



Product Description

About the Author

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.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 May 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Christina McKenna's `The Misremembered Man' is my favourite book of 2013 so far, and I was really pleased to get my hands a copy of her new release.

Bessie Lawless is `The Disenchanted Widow' of the title, her husband Packie having recently died in a car accident after taking part in a robbery and failing to disclose the location of the loot either to Bessie or his IRA bosses. Bessie goes on the run in a bid to escape one particularly brutal terrorist enforcer (known as `The Dentist' for reasons which soon become obvious), and to raise funds for her escape to `Amerikay' with her nine year old son Herkie. Her plans are thwarted when their car breaks down in the sleepy backwater Tailorstown, but a job as housekeeper to the local priest proves to be not quite as dull as she first anticipated.

The book is set in Northern Ireland in 1981 and, although there's mention of IRA atrocities and the deaths of the hunger strikers etc, this is pretty much background information and Tailorstown itself is relatively untouched by The Troubles (or is it?). Streetwise Bessie causes quite a stir amongst the locals with her `Merlin Monroe' hairstyle and McKenna's gift for lyrical banter and colourful characterisation is very much in evidence. Herkie's blend of tough city-kid cynicism and youthful innocence is adorable and the narrative is laugh-out-loud funny in places. I didn't experience the same tug-at-the-heartstrings poignancy as I did with The Misremembered Man, but still really enjoyed the lovely touches of humour and sentiment (a lot of them care of the redoubtable Rose McFadden who also featured in TMM).

A very satisfying and rewarding read. I recommended TMM to a couple of my friends and they loved it so I'll also be suggesting they get hold of a copy of this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ros on 20 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A light fun read with some witty one liners. Kept me engaged enough and I loved references to the period in time, brought back memories! My favourite line "she was that plain looking not even the tide would take her out!"
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
On the run from the IRA and an "enforcer" called The Butcher, widow Bessie Lawless and her young son Herkie leave Belfast only to find themselves temporarily stranded in the town of Tailorstown awaiting repairs to her car. The town itself boasts an excessive number of odd ducks ranging from nosy gossips, to a closet drag queen, to an art restorer named Lorcan Strong, a man who also has more than a passing relationship with The Butcher. Short on money and with no where else to go Bessie accepts the invitation of a local man called Gusty Grant, whose acquaintance with soap and water is sadly lacking, and moves into the cottage once owned by his recently deceased Aunt Dora. In attempt to earn a few dollars she takes a job as a temporary replacement housekeeper to the local priest and from there, the plot slowly thickens into a look at life and times in rural Ireland, circa 1981.

Some readers may find the heavy Irish dialect of the written word in THE DISENCHANTED WIDOW a bit difficult to read and therefore off putting. I personally did not mind it at all and could almost hear the lilting cadence of conversations in my head. As with most novels, some of the characters are more interesting and likable than others. Bessie's nine year old son Herkie (Hercules) came across, at least to this reader, as a somewhat sneaky, undisciplined child whose entire life revolved around acts of vandalism, calculating ways getting a new Action Man toy and seeing how many sugar ladened foods he could consume. Not a very appealing child.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dodo VINE VOICE on 2 May 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I amazed myself by reading this quite long book in one sitting. It is packed with Irish humor and sparkling dialogue. The different accents have been caught accurately. The characters are well constructed and the good guys are easy to like. It is a tragi-comedy.
Terrorism is in the background and doesn't spoil the fun. It is the way the author captures the idiosyncracies of her characters that makes this book so entertaining. I loved it from start to finish.
There are lots of interesting dialect words and modern ones too.
There is an irreverent humor that mocks the hypocrisy of holy Joes and Josephines.
The author understands human nature well, portraying it with sympatico. It is a warm, insightful book that is written in a flowing style that is easy to read.
The dentist is not the sort you would want on the National Health.
Bessie is the archetypal earth mother under stress. Lorcan Strong is stronger than he thinks.
Will the two come together? Is romance in the air?
The author paints a series of vignettes, tableaux and pictures to delight the heart.
It has elements of a rollicking good play that would be a delight on the stage of 'The Lyric Theatre.'
In the end it affirms human nature, rather than condemning it.
The cover shown wouldn't do it justice.
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