I have been reading excerpts from A PLACE IN THE CHOIR, the revised novel by Marie Quirke-Smith and quote part of chapter one here because her excellent writing deserves a wide audience. This bittersweet tale traces Ellie’s life from child to young woman , as she moves from a farm in the wilds of Ireland to a convent in America. If this does not grab you, Marie’s keen observation, succinct use of language and persuasive development of plot, will. Don’t be misled by the calm of Ellie’s bucolic beginnings.
Chapter 1 Belonging
Belonging means everything, and I belonged with the farm. It was where my life began. During all those years which followed our leaving of it, my distinct memories of the land and its surroundings helped to give meaning to my existence. I was born into a soft, midland cradle of green fields, woodlands, apple orchards and meadow. Whenever I recalled my childhood, I pictured again those three giant chestnut trees at the bottom of the long field. Here our blood-red cattle sheltered in the heat haze of summer. Sometimes, lying on my back in the soft grass at the edge of the scented meadow, I watched thinning clouds tango across the sky. When I was four years old, I knew where the sweet briars grew and where the field mice hid in the autumn leaves. My mother loved to take my brother, Tom, and me for walks through the woods or along the headland. Depending on the time of year, we’d look for hazelnuts, pick the first violets, chew sweet briars and suck wild strawberries until our eyes watered from the bittersweet taste. Sometimes, we disturbed birds and rabbits as we laughed and talked….
A PLACE IN THE CHOIR is now available on Amazon Kindle and read Marie’s blog “The Musings of Mawsie Maw for news about her next novel, set in Crete.