Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Jessie's mother has cut off her index finger with a meat cleaver.  Thus begins a tale of mysterious penance, forbidden love, and a healthy dose of YaYa-type friendships, including secrets kept from a daughter who could shed some guilt if she knew the truth.  Jessie herself is the one indulging in forbidden love—with a handsome monk who has not yet taken his final vows.  She's the stereotypical empty nester who needs to find herself.  Ironically, her husband Hugh is a psychiatrist who is oblivious to his wife's mid-life crisis, until she goes to the aid of her troubled mother, refuses Hugh's help, and refuses to come home.  Hugh knows that something is up other than concern for a demented parent, because Jessie and her mother have had a turbulent relationship ever since Jessie's father died in a boating accident while Jessie was a child.  This book was a pleasure to read, even if the subject matter was a little tired and uninventive.  The mystery of the finger lopping is what kept me reading.  The author drops broad hints that are not lost on the reader, or Jessie, for that matter, leading us to believe that perhaps Jessie's mother also had a furtive romantic relationship with a monk.  Alas, this is not a tale of history repeating itself, although there are some mother-daughter parallels.  Both have major guilt to contend with, even though both were following their hearts when they did the dastardly deeds.  This story is more about releasing one's demons by revealing them to loved ones so that the forgiveness and healing process can begin, especially forgiveness of oneself.

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