A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.
Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.
In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequality plaguing the 1960's, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lives are vastly different, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship.
As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the '60's, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.
There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn't lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own. It has all the feels.
The unusual dedication at the beginning immediately both intrigued and stirred the emotions, and I wanted to know its connection to the story - which was not immediately apparent.
When Birdie Barnes finds Jude - a young woman in crisis - on the beach while walking her dog, it's the beginning of an unusual cross-generational friendship, one which will have profound effects for both women. Birdie has always rebelled against the expectations placed on her by her parents and society; Jude's life has been hard from the start and it's safe to say, hasn't got easier. Both women have secrets they're not telling. But why, when they clearly haven't met before, does Jude seem so strangely familiar?
While I enjoyed the beginning of the book, it took a bit longer for the story to really grab me. By the second half, though, I was totally engaged, by Birdie's story in particular, aspects of which I could definitely relate to.
The story is set in a place I knew nothing of: Galveston Island off the coast of Texas. (Well, only the Glen Campbell song...) I felt I knew it a bit better by the end, though, and definitely got a strong sense of place arising from the narrative.
I did feel the story took time to get going, but the strength of the book lies in the complex and subtle characterisation of the main characters, especially Birdie.... not always likeable, but never less than interesting.
Thanks to the author and Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to read and review!
Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels: The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story, Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled, a Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colors of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road. In 2018 she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime, a Meg Miller Cozy Mystery. She has authored one nonfiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her web site http://www.phyllishmoore.com. Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.
Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.