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Any Bitter Thingby Monica Wood
Synopses & Reviews
After surviving a near-fatal accident, thirty-year-old Lizzy Mitchell faces a long road to recovery. She remembers little about the days she spent in and out of consciousness, save for one thing: She saw her beloved deceased uncle, Father Mike, the man who raised her in the rectory of his Maine church until she was nine, at which time she was abruptly sent away to boarding school. Was Father Mike an angel, a messenger from the beyond, or something more corporeal? Though her troubled marriage and her broken body need tending, Lizzy knows she must uncover the details of her accident — and delve deep into events of twenty years before, when whispers and accusations forced a good man to give up the only family he had. With deft insight into the snares of the human heart, Monica Wood has written an intimate and emotionally expansive novel full of understanding and hope.
"A near-fatal accident in the dark of night — 30-year-old Lizzy is struck in a hit-and-run — sets in motion a complicated, surprising story of love, loss and sacrifice. When Lizzy was two, her parents were killed in a plane crash, and she was sent to live with her beloved Uncle Mike, a Catholic priest. In prose as fresh and lovely as a Maine summer evening, Lizzy tells of seven halcyon years with her uncle. But when a bitter housekeeper falsely accuses Mike of sexually abusing Lizzy, her cozy world is shattered. Sent to live with relatives, Lizzy is told that Mike succumbed to the weak family heart and died. So how has he visited her in her hospital room after the hit-and-run? This, as well as the mystery of why Father Mike meekly accepted the accusations leveled against him, begins to come clear when Lizzy's accident and rehabilitation dredge up questions of another tragic event, long hidden. Following the structure of the Liturgy of the Hours from Invitatory to Matins, Wood (My Only Story) employs a sophisticated, layered architecture, circling from present to past to reveal shocking truths. Interspersed with Lizzy's first-person narration are sections told from Uncle Mike's third-person perspective, which provide mesmerizing insight into what is known and what is remembered. Wood's story unassumingly builds in power, right up to its moving final page. Agent, Gail Hochman. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[An] exquisite, soul-satisfying novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and healed in the utter unlikeliness of grace." Tim Farrington, author of The Monk Downstairs
"Wood illuminates the grace in the average and the everyday, the miracles that lie within the ordinary life....[An] intimate exploration of love and faith, betrayal and penance." San Francisco Chronicle
"Deserves a place on the shelf with modern classics such as John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany and Richard Russo's Empire Falls...the story is full of suspense and surprise." Maine Sunday Telegram
"Here, as in [David Mitchell's] Cloud Atlas, the forgotten, undersold virtue of good sound plotting proves its worth." David Kipen, National Public Radio
In this timely and deeply moving novel of faith, family, and hidden truths, a devout, but flawed man undergoes a crisis of priestly commitment as he is falsely accused of impropriety in raising his orphaned niece.
About the Author
Monica Wood is also the author of Ernie's Ark, a collection of stories, and My Only Story, a novel. Her fiction, book reviews, and articles appear in numerous magazines and literary journals.
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