Publisher: Legend Press
Publication date: 1st July 2016
It’s been a long while since a book given me physical goose bumps while reading. This was not as a result of horror, or shocks, but because it was so beautifully written from beginning to end. People who know me well we understand that whilst I’m not unsympathetic, it does take quite a major event to bring a tear to my eye. Almost immediately I knew this would be a treasure chest of emotion where I would discover hoard of lump in the throat gem like moments within.
It contains a mountainous abundance of love, its strength more ferocious than many challenging stormy days ahead in this story of Maeve and Edie. Twins born in the 1930’s, both an equally special addition to their parents’ lives, their personalities shining through, and yet the only difference to them apart was Edie’s Down’s Syndrome and the full time care her condition demanded as a result.
What is clear is that the twin’s parents were fiercely protective of both of their daughters, irrespective of people’s blatant disregard of their feelings concerning the methods of care they lavished on both regardless of their differing personalities. They fought disagreeable medical intervention and suffered disapproval as a result, while tolerating narrow minded public opinion of the time as they gave their children every opportunity that was financially possible.
The disruptions Edie caused as the family participated in their daily routines caused ‘scenes’ at inopportune moments. While accepted by the supportive majority, others couldn’t bring themselves to make eye contact, astonishingly embarrassed by just how big her heart was. Maeve and Edie’s parents’ attitude could easily be mistaken as bravery for the complications they had to endure, but they simply had so much love to share. Oh my, I’m welling up again. This book has left me quite choked (in a good way). *composes oneself*
By the time she tells this story Maeve is a well presented, active octogenarian. Although her knees are creaking a little more than usual she works tirelessly to provide a service to her guests at her family home and B & B catering for clients with special needs. Or should I say some truly special individuals, who experience differing needs to the usual holiday makers (not unlike her sister, who would have remarked Maeve was quite ‘exhausticated’ with so much work and little play).
The B & B is a haven for those who return year after year to experience Maeve’s unique brand of hospitality, not the dated décor. All the guests and staff have the most marvellous character; honest, persistent, loyal, with aspirations most of us take for granted. These provide a painful reminder for this bachelor lady who, despite being surrounded by lively guests, experiences excruciating bouts of loneliness and grief.
It was decades ago that life threw Maeve an unexpected curveball yet she never recovered truly recovered from tragic events of the past that affected the family and her own personal life in different ways and her heart never healed completely to allow her the happiness she deserved. What becomes clear is that she could learn a thing or two from her guests, who aren’t restrained by what is thought to be acceptable, or even possible. To be honest, I think we all could.
Owl Song at Dawn a reflective journey of ‘what ifs’ and the emotional torment we reap from situations often outside out control. No matter how late the hour you can still discover what truly matters in life. It’s the most wonderful, soul-reaching read, which embraced me wholeheartedly, and in turn I wholeheartedly recommend it.
(Many, many thanks to Lucy Chamberlain of Legend Press for kindly providing a paperback copy of this beaut in exchange for an unbiased review.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
‘Fresh, poignant and unlike anything else’ — Jill Dawson, Whitbread and Orange Prize-shortlisted author
‘Tender and unflinching, a beautifully observed novel.’ — Carys Bray, Costa Prize-shortlisted author
‘It crept under my skin and will stay there for a long time’ — Emma Henderson, Orange Prize-shortlisted author
‘Amazing: fierce, intelligent, compassionate and deeply moving’— Edward Hogan, Desmond Elliot Prize-winning author
‘Funny, heartbreaking and truly remarkable’ — Susan Barker, New York Times bestselling author
Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing eighty, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe’s 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognise the tenderness and heartbreak hidden beneath her spikiness.
Until, that is, Vincent shows up. Vincent is the last person Maeve wants to see. He is the only man alive to have known her twin sister, Edie. The nightingale to Maeve’s crow, the dawn to Maeve’s dusk, Edie would have set her sights on the stage all things being equal. But, from birth, things never were.
If only Maeve could confront the secret past she shares with Vincent, she might finally see what it means to love and be loved a lesson that her exuberant yet inexplicable twin may have been trying to teach her all along.
(Profile courtesy of Amazon UK. Photograph courtesy of publisher.)
Emma Claire Sweeney is a multi-award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, who currently teaches on City University’s Novel Studio and at New York University in London.
Emma was brought up in the North West of England, the elder sibling of twins, and OWL SONG AT DAWN is inspired by her autistic sister.
With her writer friend and colleague, Emily Midorikawa, she runs the website Something Rhymed, which shines a light on the forgotten friendships of the world’s most famous female authors.
Emma writes literary features, reviews, and pieces on disability for broadsheets and magazines.
Thank you SO much for popping by today, as Owl Song At Dawn is a truly wonderful read. Oh, and please don’t forget to visit the other blog stops on the tour! :
All the best,
3 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: Owl Song At Dawn, by Emma Claire Sweeney”
This sounds fabulous. Great review Wendy. X
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It’s wonderful, Sandra (and thank you). x
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