cover image The Ghosts of Beatrice Bird

The Ghosts of Beatrice Bird

Louisa Morgan. Redhook, $30 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-62880-8

With suspense, sympathy, and pathos, Morgan (A Secret History of Witches) illuminates the pain of abuse and the path toward healing. In 1977 Anne Iredale flees her abusive husband, James, a sadistic Boston judge who recently used his power to have Anne declared an unfit mother to their five-year-old son. A devout Catholic, Anne hopes to join Mother Maggie’s monastery on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Unable to accommodate her, Mother Maggie suggests she stay instead with Beatrice Bird, the island’s newest and most reclusive resident. A former San Francisco psychologist, Beatrice sees ghosts—or more accurately, the manifestations or imprints of personal demons that attach themselves to troubled souls. Hovering around Anne, Beatrice sees the dark ghost of James, the frightened ghost of their child, and a mysterious third specter that reeks of death. The story unfolds slowly and methodically, toggling between Anne’s and Beatrice’s perspectives, to reveal domestic trauma (including often graphic scenes of abuse), the generational subjugation of women, and the hopeful promise of female solidarity and the broader women’s liberation movement. Morgan’s fans will welcome these empathetic heroines fighting for independence. Agent: Peter Rubie, FinePrint Literary Management. (Nov.)