Naturally gifted as a writer, Therese Walsh is an even more giving storyteller. Consider that she first began writing storybooks for her children and, as they grew, those stories became more complex. A friend loved romance novels so Therese — as she told Jael McHenry — decided to write a love story about a guy and a girl and a peach pie. That was seven years ago and, somewhere between the second and third revision, Therese allowed her characters to take over, giving them the opportunity to tell their story. This finalized gift, The Last Will of Moira Leahy debuts tomorrow, October 13, 2009, and for every one of its readers this novel will be a most memorable present.
Unique for several reasons, this debut novel has earned praise from literary trade journals as well as Therese’s peers. These can be found on the News/Reviews page of the author’s website, including:
“Walsh’s debut is a magical, involving journey, one that mixes a compelling mystery from the past with a suspenseful search in the present.”
“Walsh’s debut seamlessly weaves together past and present. This tender tale of sisterhood, self-discovery, and forgiveness will captivate fans of contemporary women’s fiction.”
– Library Journal
“Walsh’s satisfying novel follows Maeve Leahy, a brilliant young professor, in her pursuit for answers about her family and herself. [She] ably shifts between Maeve’s current quest and flashbacks showing the twins as children, revealing little by little the story behind Maeve’s grief. . . . [A] pleasing blend of mystery, romance and the supernatural.”
– Publishers Weekly
Notice how each review tends to describe The Last Will of Moira Leahy in different genres? All are correct for Therese is the first to admit: “My manuscript wasn’t easy to categorize–women’s fiction/family saga melded with touches of mystery, psychological suspense and romance. The real wildcard component was the mythical realism, though.” But in her October 6th Interview with L.T. Suzuki, the author personifies her work, making it delightfully reasonable:
“If Last Will were a person, I’d say she has a women’s fiction heart but raided several genre closets. She snagged the ripped denims of mystery, muddy boots of family tragedy, a cloak of suspense, an eye patch of adventure, a little suede hat of romantic drama, and a sprinkling of mythical realism glitter.”
Ah, let’s not forget the glitter that the debut author has sprinkled into a universally appealing story. Here’s the Synopsis:
When Maeve Leahy lost her twin sister, Moira, to tragedy nearly a decade ago, she buried her adventurous spirit to become a workaholic professor of languages instead. Until one night at an auction when she wins something that reminds her of her carefree, piratical youth: a Javanese dagger called a keris. Days later, a book is nailed to her office door, followed by anonymous notes, one inviting her to Rome to learn more about the blade. Soon, she’ll learn that nothing can be taken at face value—including the face she’s been presenting to the world—and that the keris might play a role in slicing away her many self-protective layers, once and for all.
Rather than use a Book Trailer to provide a visual sneak peek at the novel, Therese offers readers Maeve Leahy’s Photo Journal and there’s also an Excerpt. In fact the author gives so much detailed research and background on her writing that exploring her website is almost like reading a story within a story. Indeed it’s wondrous and well worth checking out AFTER you’ve read the book. The links within this post are all you need for now.
Why? Because this Fairy Godmother wants you to be enchanted, enticed, and enlightened — just as I was — by falling into the pages and under the spell of Therese Walsh’s mesmerizing tale of twin sisters who haunted her to tell their story. Here are several of my thoughts and feelings:
Although The Last Will of Moira Leahy is totally believable, the novel can also be considered a most intriguing adult fairy tale. From the beginning there are the elements of location, the stark shores of Maine, and characters: a seemingly distant Mother, a Grandfather who spins yarns of adventure and bestows a magical weapon to twin sisters — identical but so different. A combination of all these factors, plus more, forms a story that provides fantasy, sorrow, romance and self-discovery.
The fact that this novel successfully works amidst several genres is likely because the author has grounded it in reality, mythical though it occasionally may be. There are no false notes, only stunned surprises, that are effortlessly woven between past and present events. As for the romance factor, it exists to a degree, however the truth is that this book tells a universal love story — both of sisterhood and self-acceptance. Still it is the ever-present keris that will undoubtedly enchant, enlighten, and perhaps even bring back childhood memories of a similar personal object imbued with power.
Therese Walsh’s debut also has its power — her writing/storytelling that will touch your heart and remind you to believe.
After almost four months of reading “mentions” about The Last Will of Moira Leahy, you can actually purchase a copy tomorrow.
Please DO because it’s just…
Book Giveaway: The Last Will of Moira Leahy will be given away in this week’s contest. To enter, leave a comment on this post describing an object that made your younger self feel powerful, brave, or invincible. The deadline for all entries is Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced on Thursday’s post.