Author: Coralie Hughes Jensen
Publisher: Lightning Rider Press
Thunder roars and wind howls echoing throughout the small fishing settlement as this mystery story opens and sees Lety Hawkins give birth to a baby girl named Sophie. Sophie’s head is wrapped in a caul which is said to mean that she would have a special healing gift. This proves to be true when she is taken to see a sick woman and rubs the old lady’s limbs. Suddenly the woman is up and moving freely again. These gifts are special to Sophie but many of the villagers see her as being strange. Lety is sure the baby’s father, who was a sailor, will return to her but he doesn’t and Letty’s body is found dead on the rocks where she would sit and watch for him.
Sophie’s childhood was hard and difficult at times because she suffered abuse at the hands of the Rev. Ivany who she was sent to live with. He did however teach her to read.
Everyone said Sophie was an instrument of the devil but she used her powers on Grace, the Rev’s daughter to help her recover from polio.
Sophie then lived in an orphanage where life was rather grim and eventually she has a breakdown. The psychologist helps her come to terms with all the abuse and years later Sophie graduates in psychology at Queen’s college. More in control of her life than she has ever been, she prepares for the priesthood. Eventually Sophie goes with her friend Noah to bleak isolated Newfoundland. Her gift comes in useful again as she sets about unravelling a mysterious fourth floor at the hospital where she is the chaplain. Here she discovered old and new medical equipment but what is really going on in this dark forgotten ward.
Everything seems to be working out well with her relationship with Noah but disaster is never far away.
Years later Sophie becomes consecrated as a Bishop for the Eastern Diocese of Newfoundland and Noah gave the sermon but Sophie wondered if she would ever see him again as she took her vows in the crowded cathedral.
Coralie Hughes writes with a distinctive style, her story draws you on through a series of short chapters which are set out in an enjoyable way. The Newfoundland dialect gives an interesting facet to some parts of the novel. Her knowledge of the training of priests and their calling shines throughout and as always in her books the seascape and weather play an important part.
The story is told in the main through Sophie’s words as she gives a lecture in psychology at college.
A wonderful novel that you will find hard to put down.
The above review was contributed by: Jessica Roberts: Jessica has been a reviewer for a newspaper and a national women’s magazine. She is working on a novel and has written some poetry and other writings in the past.