The Callow Land
by Fiona Billie Lawlor
It’s 2014. Families. Two in particular, the Sheridans and the Kearns. The surviving members, Ruth Sheridan and Brigid Kearns, of these two clans discover there is a sliver, a filament that connects them way back in time. The novel chronicles their beginnings around famine times and takes us on a journey of familial love, loss, longing, despair, grief, and joy, but ultimately is a novel about hope and redemption.
Ruth is in her late forties, returning home from a career in London to sort out the last of her mother Freda’s affairs. Freda took her life a year ago, on St. Brigid’s day. It is bittersweet for Ruth as she sieves through their family archives which is in stark contrast to the busy professional life she has forged for herself, in part to escape her mother’s ongoing depression. Ruth feels guilty. And her affair with married Simon is on her mind.
Brigid, named after the saint’s day on which she was born, is recovering well following a car accident. She is in her seventies, and has long held a secret, a secret that is buried outside the church walls in Kildare. There is a link between all the St. Brigid’s days throughout the decades.
A chance meeting in a rainstorm introduces these women and they discover they are at a place where past and present meet. Ultimately, Ruth and Brigid form an unlikely alliance and the novel ends with both women reflecting on their lives, with the promise of a brighter future, and able to leave all old hurts behind them.
The Callow Land is a beautifully written and interwoven work that leads us seamlessly through time, place and character. A story love, of loss, of hope and, ultimately, of redemption.
– John Mac Kenna
A compelling view of the past,wholly credible.
– Col. Demond Travers