Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont.
Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.
Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, though insignificant, fixtures. An arsonist, a covetous nurse, and the endearing village idiot are among the few who have ever seen Mary.
Newcomers to Mill River — a police officer and his daughter and a new fourth grade teacher — are also curious about the reclusive old woman. But only Father Michael O’Brien knows Mary and the secret she keeps — one that, once revealed, will change all of their lives forever.
Book Review: ★★★★★★
This is a book that I have vacillated over buying for a while now. The cover looked interesting, as did the title — but when I read the description, I just couldn’t make up my mind. I finally took the plunge since I am between semesters, and I wanted something to read that wasn’t assigned reading. I have to say that even though assigned reading isn’t always something I would voluntarily pick up and read — they are almost always well written and have volatile topics to reflect on. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing here.
Both the story line and characters were predictable in the extreme in this book, and I found myself wondering if it was going to go any where. I was particularly intrigued with Mary, and felt like there could have been a lot of insightful back story developed through her. But in the end I felt like she remained illusive, unknown, and unknowable — even to the reader. Ultimately I felt like most of the characters all had odd quirks and strange personality issues — as well as physical challenges to over come. But somehow, over all the author just seemed to stay with a sappy drama with little in depth development.
This is a story that I would have expected more suited to a Lifetime chickflick presentation. And it certainly qualifies in my category of chick-lit. However, if you are looking for a read that has little mental engagement, and a great deal of over-emotional drama — this one would qualify. It is the perfect beach read — and would be a good option for the approaching summer months, in the lighter read category.
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