Border Crossings

Carole Bellacera, Author
Carole Bellacera, Author Forge $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-86858-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-8125-7573-6
Paperback - 422 pages - 978-1-4680-5638-9
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""The Troubles"" in Northern Ireland are viewed through a misty, romantic lens in Bellacera's emotional first novel. The saga of the O'Faolain family--whose female members all seem to have ""riots"" of auburn curls or near-black ""clouds"" of hair--begins with a tragedy. Two Protestant terrorists gun down Peg and Kennet one June evening at their house in Enniskillen before the eyes of their teenage daughter, two young sons and infant. Kennet's brother Pearse, a professor of Irish history, and his American wife, Kathy (the novel's central character), feel compelled to leave their comfortable life in Dublin with their baby, Sean, to head north, over the border, to the town of Pearse's birth. Under pressure from his militant, prison-hardened sister, Erin, Pearse decides it's both his patriotic and familial duty to stay in the North and fight for ""the Cause"" in his dead brother's place. Kathy, however, takes a very dim view of County Fermanagh. When she realizes she's pregnant, she struggles to balance her protectiveness of Sean and her unborn child with her desire to support her husband, unrecognizable as he is in his new political skin. The dismal situation in the North, as well as her changing relationship with Pearse and the sadness of a new loss, are brightened by an emerging relationship with her niece Aisling. The revelation of one gunman's secret relation to the O'Faolains personalizes the complex religious and political patterning that Bellacera tries to examine. She is more successful when describing the domestic, sexual and parental relationships to which her homey prose is better suited. Agent, Jill Grosjean. (May)
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