The Godforsaken Daughter
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When Ruby Clare's father was alive, they toiled together happily on their dairy farm in Northern Ireland. Since his death, Ruby—thirty-three, plump but comely—has been forced indoors and made a domestic drudge for Martha, her endlessly critical mother, and her prettier younger sisters, May and June.
But everything changes when Ruby finds her late grandmother's old case in the attic. Among its strange contents: a curious, handmade volume called The Book of Light.
As Ruby delves into its mysterious pages, she's enticed into a most beguiling world, whose allure and magnetic power she finds irresistible.
Martha, convinced that her newly empowered daughter is going crazy, enlists the help of the kindly parish priest, and then psychiatrist Henry Shevlin. Henry appears imperturbable, yet is inwardly reeling from his wife's unexplained disappearance the previous year.
As Ruby undergoes therapy, she meets local bachelor farmer Jamie McCloone. Through their shared loneliness and isolation the two find the courage to connect. But will Ruby's mother allow her daughter the happiness she so richly deserves?
The Godforsaken Daughter is an unforgettable peek into small-town life in Ireland's recent past. It's a glorious successor to McKenna's first two “Tailorstown” novels, The Misremembered Man and The Disenchanted Widow.
hadn’t slept too well, so I didn’t read too much into it. When one is tired one’s mood usually drops.” “She has sleep problems?” “No, on the contrary, she’s an excellent sleeper. Out like a light way before me, normally. Just on the odd occasion she’ll have a restless night.” “The last time you spoke to her was over breakfast on the morning of Wednesday, the twenty-fifth of May?” “That’s correct.” He noticed she was recording his answers in shorthand. “What did you talk
hesitated. “Please, sir. We have to do a quick search. Nothing to be concerned about.” The two soldiers—a private and a corporal—held their weapons nonchalantly as he opened the door and climbed out, but he knew that one false move would have them covering him again. He was shaking as the officer indicated that he should remain standing a little distance from the car. Slinging their guns behind their backs, the soldiers went to work with practiced hand. The private switched on the
“Ruby, are you in there? Can you let me in, please . . . I’m Henry . . . Henry Shevlin . . . the doctor.” “Go away! I don’t need no doctor . . . I’m not goin’ near no hospital.” “I’m not going to put you in hospital. But—” “You’re lying.” “I assure you, Ruby, I’m not lying. But, if you refuse to open the door I’ll have no option but to call the police and have them break it down. In which case you will most definitely have to be admitted to hospital, for your own safety.” Ruby
Sergeant, have you arrested poor Jamie, have you?’ ‘Not exactly, Mrs. McFadden,’ sez he. ‘Mr. McCloone is being detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure for dis-ordin’ry conduct in a public place.’ Well, God, Doctor, the light nearly left me eyes. For it’s only for its own good that a cat purrs in the middle of the night, and everything might be all right in the house till the cow jumps into the garden and interferes with your floribundas, as they say. For that would be the first time the like of that
psychiatrist.” “Fuck me. Then I’d stay well clear of the Screamers if I was you. They hate psychiatrists. Did you know that?” “Well, I knew they didn’t have a good opinion of us.” He smiled. “But they’re not alone in that, eh?” He looked at his watch. It was just after 3:15. “The barman said there’s a boat leaving at four.” “Yep. You’re determined to go, then?” “It’s my reason for coming here.” “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Max pointed in the direction of the harbor. “You can