My Goodreads review:
|Someone loaned me this book, suggesting that it's one I might enjoy. The synopsis made me think that, as well.|
This was an endearing novel....but it was also very difficult to read, at times. It's the story of a man, James, orphaned, now grown and living on a farm by himself. He decides that it's past time to find a special woman to complete his lonely life. A schoolteacher, Lydia, has a similar epiphany when she needs a date to a wedding. The two end up exchanging letters and eventually meeting.
What is difficult about this novel is the flashbacks to the orphanage where James grew up. I had no idea the houses run by the Catholic Church in Ireland were so absolutely despicable and abusive. The actions by those who ran such places made this a terrible thing to have to read - so much so that I cannot imagine living through it.
The novel ends well, though a bit too quickly. McKenna's novel has a steady rhythm throughout until the conclusion, which feels rushed and disjointed. But I enjoyed James - a man whose simpleness is greatly endearing - and Lydia, with whom any woman can sympathize.