Franny is a cleaner at a Galway university when she sneaks into one of Professor Niall Lynch’s lectures about birds. Birds are one of her passions, along with wandering and the sea. Not long after their next encounter, they marry, but Franny can’t stop wandering, and Niall is depressed by the destruction by humans who’ve caused most animals to become extinct. Franny is on a pilgrimage to follow the last remaining birds — the Arctic terns — from the northern hemisphere to Antarctica. She meets Captain Ennis who unwillingly allows her board his ship in Greenland. But Franny has demons — she sleepwalks, and memories of a life in Ireland haunt her. Will there be any terns left if she reaches Antarctica? And can she find solace from the secrets she keeps about her criminal past?
If you don’t have time to read a 500 page novel, Voices from the dead is perfect for someone with a busy life. It’s a collection of short stories that keep getting better and better with each tale. From cyber ghosts to conversations with people who turn out to be ghosts, these stories shine with surprise endings.
This novel has an average rating from my local library readers, but I found it a fascinating insight into the Valois dynasty seen through the eyes of Marguerite de Valois during the 16th century. Although King Charles heads the French dynasty, his mother, Catherine de Medicis, is the one who makes all the political decisions. Her schemes to maintain and increase her family’s rule include marrying her off to any man if it will increase the family’s power. The Queen’s desire to maintain a stronghold on its kingdom culminates in the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre when thousands of Huguenot are slaughtered.
Will Margurerite realize what kind of a person her mother really is, and overcome her desire to please her?
In 1950s England, Lewis’s mother drinks a bottle of wine, and drowns while out on a picnic with her son. Because of his failure to save his mother, Lewis’s response to his guilt becomes unruly and he lands in jail. On his release, he discovers the past is ever present within both his remaining family and his village community that no longer trust him.