Author: Christina McKenna
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, March 17, 2015
Genre: Literary Fiction
I agreed to read and participate in the TLC Book Tour for this book as I was reading Maeve Binchy’s A Week In Winter. I loved the whole feel of Ireland and the rural Irish people I met in that novel. I wanted more of Ireland!
The Godforsaken Dauhter certainly gave me that. There are differences, of course. but primarily what makes me love these Irish books is how the people talk, think, treat each other, and look at the world.
In The Godforsaken Daughter the story revolves around Ruby Clare, a young woman living on a farm in Northern Ireland. Ruby actually loves dairy farming — caring for the animals and the land. She has worked side-by-side with her father all her life, but now, since her father’s death, all of that is gone. Her very nasty and spiteful mother sold all the cows and has rented out the pasture land to other farmers. Ruby is grieving from all of it.
One day, while cleaning in the attic, Ruby discovers an old suitcase that belonged to her grandmother. In it she finds tarot cards, a book called The Book of Light, and other items which would suggest her grandmother practiced witchcraft.
The contents in the suitcase give Ruby hope that, if she tries some of these things, she might be able to achieve her dreams. She figures its worth a try. When Ruby attempts to do a Summer Solstice celebration, everything comes to a head. Ruby’s mother is so outraged that she calls a psychiatrist, Henry Shevlin, to have Ruby committed to an insane asylum.
Henry is able to quickly sum up the situation in a calm professional manner. He manages to help Ruby, while at the same time, he mollifies her mother. As Ruby comes to the psychiatrist’s clinic on a regular basis, she begins to meet other people who become friends. In particular, I loved Rose, a woman who has great respect for all people. She also considers herself a skilled matchmaker. She soon has someone in mind for Ruby.
I also liked the character of Henry, the psychiatrist. He’s an extremely good and competent psychiatristm but we also learn that Henry has serious personal problems. His wife has disappeared with no clues or any sort of explanation. This whole part of the story is an excellent story within a story. Spoiler Alert: It has something to do with the IRA in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.
This is a complex story with characters who have real depth. To me these were real people with real problems. I love to love good characters, but I also love to hate real bad characters. I certainly got that in The Godforsaken Daughter. I don’t believe I can explain how horrible Ruby’s mother was. She was rude, nasty, hateful, domineering, and downright verbally abusive to her oldest daughter who she treated like a slave. You do not want to miss meeting this monster mother.
I first read this novel on my Kindle via my advanced reading copy. When I saw it advertised on Audible, I immediately downloaded it. The narrator, Sue Pitkin, really enhanced my enjoyment of this book. She made Ruby’s mother even nastier than she was in my head. Her interpretation of Ruby and Rose made them seem even more quirky and lovable than in the print version. I strongly recommend reading this book via audio.