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So Far Awayby Meg Mitchell Moore
Synopses & Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O'Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Boston family. The catch? Bridget lives only in the pages of a dusty old 1920s diary Natalie unearthed in her mother's basement. But the life she describes is as troubling - and mysterious - as the one Natalie is trying to navigate herself, almost a century later.
I am writing this down because this is my story. There were only ever two people who knew my secret, and both are gone before me.
Who was Bridget, and what became of her?
Natalie escapes into the diary, eager to unlock its secrets, and reluctantly accepts the help of library archivist Kathleen Lynch, a widow with her own painful secret: she's estranged from her only daughter. Kathleen sees in Natalie traces of the daughter she has lost, and in Bridget, another spirited young woman at risk.
What could an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? As the troubles of a very modern world close in around them, and Natalie's torments at school escalate, the faded pages of Bridget's journal unite the lonely girl and the unhappy widow - and might even change their lives forever.
"'Solace,' the characters in Moore's touching second novel (after The Arrivals) find, 'can come from unlikely sources.' Widow Kathleen Lynch is lonely and heartbroken, unable to stop ruminating on her missing daughter, who ran away as a teenager. Working at the Massachusetts Archives, Kathleen meets Natalie Gallagher, an awkward, sad 13-year-old. The girl's parents are separated, her father distant, her mother depressed and emotionally absent, leaving her alone to fend off two relentless cyberbullies, one of whom was her former best friend. Natalie and Kathleen are brought together by Natalie's research into family history for a school project and the discovery of an old family diary; written in the 1970s, it details the life of an Irish woman in American since 1925 and builds to a gripping secret. Natalie and Kathleen, two people in need, reach out to each other, but it takes lessons learned from the past to help them move forward. This sweet and thoughtful novel is both tense and elegiac, exploring the damage we inflict on ourselves and each other, and the strength it takes to heal. Agent: Elizabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Kathleen Lynch is an archivist at a Boston library, a widow, estranged from her only daughter. Their very different lives are joined by a woman long-dead--Bridget O' Meara, who came to Boston in 1925 to work as a maid. When Natalie discovers Bridget's diary in her mother's attic, she embarks on a quest to learn more about the woman on the page, finding an unlikely and sometimes unwanted ally in Kathleen. As they unlock the secrets to Bridget's life, and her link to theirs, they learn that their present day fears and frustrations are more timeless than they seem, and that solace can come from unlikely sources.
The heartfelt storytelling that won Meg Mitchell Moore praise in her debut The Arrivals continues to shine in her page-turning new novel.
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