Read an Excerpt
'You've done a brilliant job of bringing her up, Magda. Helena has turned out to be a fine girl, a credit to you and herself. And she's got herself a good man, even if he isn't Catholic. But take my advice, slow down. The world will keep turning if your shop runsout of pies and pastries an hour before closing time, and there's only two sausage rolls for every three children at the Sunday school tea parties.'
Magda made a face as she dry-swallowed two aspirins. She knew from experience that the sooner she took the pain-killers, the sooner the stabbing pains would stop. But Father O'Brien was wrong about one thing. Her headache had nothing to do with stress and everything to do with the war. Just one more bitter souvenir.
She sat back in the seat, closed her eyes, and waited for the foul taste of the pills to subside along with the pain.
'I know you wanted Helena to be married with a full celebratory mass, but the mixed marriage ceremony is a splendid one in its own right, Magda. And who knows? When the children start coming along, Helena's young man might change his mind about being received into the Church. And then there'll be another cause for celebration. '
Magda could hear Father O'Brien's soft, musical Irish lilt, but the pain in her head had intensified, closing out the world around her. She'd had many headaches before, but never one like this. It was as though everything was conspiring to make it worse. The lurching movement of the car. The heat of the sun burning her face through the windscreen. The discordant blast of a car horn behind them ...
'Magda ... Magda ... Mother of God ... '