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Where is home when nothing is certain? 1913. Martha, fifteen years old, is sent from an orphanage in Dublin to relatives she’s never met in Canada, to her cousin, Anna, a kindred spirit, to her aunt who loathes her. Here Martha uncovers a tragic family history. When WWI occurs, Anna, voyages to France to care for wounded and loses herself in shell shock. Martha leaves the emptiness of her adopted family and becomes a wartime farmerette. Her life is as a farmer, mother, a wife to Charlie coming home from war, broken. In 1938, Simon Lansky, a German Jewish professor asks for help in rescuing his daughters from a dreadful fate. Martha and Anna, hardened to war and its torments, travel to Europe to rescue the girls.
Will Simon survive the war and reunite with his daughters?
Will war define Martha and Anna, determine where they belong?
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Dr. Casey MacMillan teaches about love and loss, yet has carefully constructed her life to distance herself from pain. Her world unravels when a woman from her past enters into a love affair with Galean, her close friend. Fearing both the consequences of this new relationship and the sting of her unrequited feelings for Galean, she flees to Ireland. There, far from all that is familiar, she begins a search for clarity and discovers that she must revisit everything she believes in life in order to finally arrive at the truth. Renewed, she emerges from her exile, but an unexpected turn of events leads her to consider a bold move, a risk that will change the course of her life. Casey must face her deepest fears and decide if she’s ready to love and be loved—not just on the page, but in real life.
Will You Be Sitting Beside Me, my memoir, was a story written in the midst of grief upon the death of my then-husband and a chronicle of my way back into life on my own.
A retrospective on the unexpected in life, a recollection of those times when as Mary Oliver writes only “the beauty and the mystery re-dignify the worst stung heart.”1
Ten years ago, writing my story became my road back, and an acknowledgement of the inner spirit we all carry to summon up life.
1. Mary Oliver, Upstream (Penguin Press, New York, 2016), 14-15.