Emma Claire Sweeney
Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing 80, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe's 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognize 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.
Diane S on Goodreads wrote:
What a fabulous book! I was hooked from the first few pages.
I loved the setting and it was especially relevant to my family as my Mum spent many happy years living in the quirky town of Morecambe as a child. The writing style of Owl Song At Dawn is brilliant - so clever that the book takes the form of Maeve talking to her beloved twin Edie. The book weaves smoothly between past and present and has interspersed within it letters and medical reports which I felt added an extra interesting element.
At times heart-rending, quirky, funny and uplifting, this book is also an important book to have been written as it conveys the brilliantly unique and captivating personalities that people with Down's Syndrome and other learning difficulties have.
Cannot recommend this book enough - one to savour and I really didn't want it to finish. So much so I set my alarm for 5am just so I could finish it before the school run! Will definitely be looking out for other novels by Emma Claire Sweeney.
3.5 Maeve is nearing eighty and except for her time in college has never lived anywhere else but in Sea View Lodge. A Lodge that caters to the mentally and physically disadvantage, and where two young people with Downs syndrome live and work. This is now her life now, but she once had a twin sister, Edie, a sister who was born mentally and physically handicapped, a sister she loved very much. A sister her mother and father kept at home despite pressure from the doctors and social services to institutionalize her, a sister whose eventual fate causes her unending grief and guilt. Then a friend from the past arrives and just maybe she can come to terms with her past.
This book was inspired by the Author's own sister and it is a emotional but worthy read. The pressure in the fifties and sixties to sterilize these unfortunate children, to institutionalize them and basically to forget about them and concentrate on their remaining family members, heartbreaking. Maeve's story as she tries to live her own life, while always including her sister, was just full of lobe and hope. Things don't turn out as planned for her but she makes the most of what she has left by catering to and helping others less fortunate. The present story and the past story were equally compelling, something that I very rarely find in books that skip back and forth in time. I enjoyed these characters, and in between we hear from Edie herself, in the special way she thinks and feels. Added a personal touch and insight as well. All in all a very good and heartfelt story.
ARC from Netgalley.