Book Choice

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Mother of Pearl

by Maureen Lee

Recommended by

Lori Cormack

THIS novel tells the story of Pearl, raised by her uncle and aunt after a terrible childhood incident leaves her without parents. It opens in 1971, when Pearl is a primary school teacher. Quiet and awkward, she is extremely reserved. When we first meet her in the staffroom of her school, she is surrounded by the usual gossip and chatter. This time, about convicted murderer, Amy Curran, who is due to be released soon after serving 20 years for the brutal killing of her husband Barney, a war hero. But unknown to the gossiping women, Amy is Pearl’s mother. Alongside this storyline, we are transported back to 1939, when Amy and Barney meet for the first time. It is love at first sight and they marry soon after. But their whirlwind romance is soon interrupted by impending war, with Barney called up to serve for his country as the situation escalates. We follow their lives - Amy struggling to cope at home and Barney at war - and are drawn into their marriage as things become increasingly difficult. But how does it end up with murder? And how is Pearl coping 20 years later? A touching story from Lee, who captures the hardship of war and the impact on families fabulously.