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April 2019 Fiction: Literary

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Silence Under A Stone
By (author): Norma MacMaster
9781784163129 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Apr 23, 2019
$19.99 CAD
Active 5 x 7.8 x 0.8 in 240 pages Random House Canada UK Distribution Black Swan
‘I eke out my days here with care; spend them carefully, one at a time, like pennies in this one little room where all the straggles and strays of my life are gathered up neat as a ball of wool; the eighty-three years of them drawn taut to a single hard knot that weighs me down like a stone.’

From her bed in a Dublin nursing home, Harriet Campbell reflects on the time, long ago, when the second greatest joy in her life was her newborn son James; only her God had a greater claim to her love.

It is the 1920s in the shadowlands south of the border. Harriet and her husband Thomas are respected members of their strict Presbyterian Congregation; indeed, Thomas has just been made an Elder. But this is a changing Ireland, where the sway of the Roman Catholic Church is at its height, and the community is becoming increasingly isolated. Little does Harriet realise that, as James grows up, she will be forced to choose between faith and family.

Written in startlingly beautiful prose, Norma MacMaster’s Silence Under a Stone is an intimate, deeply moving human story, where sometimes the price of an unyielding faith is too great to bear.

Norma MacMaster was born and reared in County Cavan before continuing her studies in Derry, Dublin, Belfast and Montreal. She was a secondary school teacher and counsellor in Ireland and Canada and was ordained a minister of the Church of Ireland in 2004. A contributor to Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1, she is the author of a memoir, Over My Shoulder. She and her late husband have one daughter. Norma lives by the sea in North County Dublin, and wrote Silence Under A Stone ‘a bit now and a bit then’, typing with two fingers in her attic. It is her first novel.

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