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Historical excerpts > A Good Confession A love story in 1960s London and Ireland

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message 1: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Whelan | 1 comments A Good Confession by Bridget Whelan
From the cover (hardback edition)

For lovers of The Thorn Birds: a story that crosses the Irish Sea, breaking hearts and taboos.

“Bridget Whelan writes in the great Irish tradition of storytelling. A Good Confession is an unputdownable, compelling love story about the conflict between passion and duty”
Miriam Stoppard on A Good Confession

When sweet-talking Mick Brogan dies, his young wife Cathleen struggles to bring up their daughters in a few rented rooms in 1960s North London. She is comforted by Father Jerry, her husband’s cousin and a priest generally acknowledged by the Irish community to be both a saint and the spit of Gregory Peck. As their friendship develops, Cathleen fears that they
are growing too close. Hoping that confession will ease her troubled mind, she says the things that can’t be said anywhere else – not realizing that she is confessing to the man she loves.
When a tragedy forces Cathleen back to Ireland, she must face the truth and accept the consequences of a forbidden love . . .


On loss

Don’t tell me Mick was devoted to the Mass, Cathleen thought as Father Jerry climbed the steps to the pulpit. That’s what they said about my friend Angie when everyone knew the only thing she was devoted to was sticking pictures of Grace Kelly on her bedroom wall. Don’t say he loved the Eucharist. Mick Brogan loved a bet and a pint and me.
She bowed her head as the sermon began.
‘Mick and I played together as children and his house was like another home to me.’ Cathleen heard her mother in law’s sudden intake of breath. ‘And when I see all your faces, I know that this matters.’ The priest spoke quietly, holding out his hands in a gesture that took in the whole congregation. Cathleen looked up.
‘Being here matters.’ Father Jerry’s voice was stronger, his words carrying clearly to the upper balconies and the back of the church. ‘Because Mick Brogan mattered.’
He held the pause for a couple of heartbeats.
‘The world goes on outside,’ Father Jerry continued. ‘There’s trains still running, men working, women cooking. Ordinary life goes on but in here, in this church, right now, it stops. Not for long, but long enough to say goodbye.’
Cathleen felt the priest’s clear grey eyes on her and couldn’t look away.
‘I know that no words can comfort his young wife or his mother who has travelled all the way from south west Ireland to be here. But Mick is home now, not home to Farran – the village where he grew up - or to the home he made for himself in London. But to the home we’re all going to where we’ll find one another again.’ The priest looked around the church and then back at Cathleen. ‘We’re on the same journey and Mick has gone on ahead.’
‘Didn’t I tell you he has a terrible way with words?’ Grandma Brogan whispered. The old woman was crying. Cathleen put a hand to her own face and was surprised to find that it was wet.

On love

Later he studied her sleeping face, half buried in the pillow, and very gently held up a section of her hair, allowing the light to shine through it. He let it fall through his fingers as he looked at her, and thought that he would lie like that all night, but at some point he must have drifted off to sleep because he woke with a start while it was still dark.
For a moment he didn’t recognise where he was, although he knew instantly all the places it couldn’t be: not the gloom of the Diocesan House or his book lined room in Verona, nor the white washed walls of the seminary dormitory or the lonely bedroom of his solitary childhood. No, he was drifting in a ruby night, silent except for the occasional late night bus on the street below and the cadence of Cathleen’s breathing.
So, this is what it’s like, he thought, sharing space and skin and air. I never knew.
He touched her arm and she moved, wrapping herself around him. I’ve come home, he thought. I’m home.

On Ireland

…they soon left the world of roads and street lights behind for the countryside where high black hedgerows, silhouetted against a black sky, rose up on either side of the car.
Cathleen breathed in the smell of grass and the sweet smoke of a turf fire that was warming a home somewhere in the dark.
This is Ireland, she thought. Not her Ireland, not dirty, garrulous Dublin that seemed to have been made up of broken pavements, rent books with pages missing and pub tables that needed a good wipe.
This Ireland was another place, the place the songs were sung about.
It was Mick’s Ireland and Jerry’s, and the Ireland she wanted her daughters to have. It was the Ireland that they were about to lose.
Available from bookshops and online sellers. Also stocked by many libraries in UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

message 2: by Ali (new)

Ali | 25 comments Mod

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