Singing Bird

Singing Bird

by Roisin McAuley

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781909979178
Publisher: Crux Publishing
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 477,572
File size: 588 KB

About the Author

Roisin McAuley turned to fiction after a 25 year career as a factual reporter and documentary film maker. Singing Bird is her acclaimed debut novel. She is currently writing her fifth novel. She lives in Ireland with her husband.

Read an Excerpt

Singing Bird
A Novel

Chapter One

We were drinking champagne in the kitchen when the nun telephoned. I rerun the moment. What if I hadn't decided to have a party? What if we'd simply locked up and gone elsewhere for a drink? Or if the house move had been a week earlier? Would my life have continued in the safe, familiar pattern?

Maybe. But she was a determined woman. She would have tracked down the new address and telephone number. We were only moving to the other side of the Thames. We are in the telephone book.

Or she would have left a message. And I would have replied. Because my latent curiosity only wanted an excuse. I would have taken the same path into the past eventually. She is not to blame.

I go back in my mind to the day of the call. It was our second last day in the old house. I got up early and made a lamb casserole. At eight o'clock I brought Jack a cup of coffee and drew back the curtains in the bedroom.

'The wind blew the runner beans down. They look all ragged and forlorn.'

'Summer always ends with a storm'; he said. 'We're halfway through September, Lena.'

He bent his blond head over the cup and inhaled, before drinking.

'You spoil me,' he said.

'I like spoiling you.'

'Do you mind me going away?'

A blackbird flew up from the wreckage of the beans and settled on the garden wall.

I turned and smiled at him. 'Everything's under control.'


I had plotted the move on a spreadsheet, and pinned it up in the hall. After Jack left for the office, Alma and two of my neighbours arrived to help me pack up. We moved methodically from room to room, sorting, packing, and tying colour-coded labels to furniture and boxes.

Just before five o'clock, I tied a pink label to a box of cookery books. I took a bottle of champagne from the fridge and called out, 'That's the last one. Time to celebrate!'

It was Alma's birthday. I had made her a cake. It sat on the breakfast bar dividing the living space from the kitchen. A Victoria sponge. Cream and home-made raspberry jam in the middle. Soft white icing on top. Pink miniature candles matched the labels dotted around the room.

'How about some music,' Alma said. 'Some opera? Our favourite singer, perhaps?'

Rosemary and Janet clapped. I bowed to acknowledge the tribute to my daughter as I slipped Mary Molloy Sings Mozart and Rossini into the CD player. It was her first recording, and is still my favourite.

Mary's voice filled the empty space and floated up to the attics.

'Tell me fair ladies, what ails my heart?'

'Yonder cupid, is this his dart?'

Her entire personality is contained in that sparkling combination of music and words. Delight and wonder, perfectly conveyed. We had rolled up the rugs, leaving parquet and bare boards. There was nothing to deaden the sound.

'Yonder Cupid, is this his dart?' Mary reprised.

'It's like being inside a giant speaker,' Alma said.

We sat at the long oak table drinking champagne, drunk on the music. The sky cleared. Sunshine splashed into the room. Mary began the Cavatina from The Barber of Seville. I bathed in the afterglow of a job well done.

'Una voce poco fa,
Qu'nel cor m'risuono,'

I looked at the bright sky and thought of Mary on her way from Stuttgart to Heathrow. In the innocent minutes before the telephone rang, I sat in the September sunlight in a house I loved, listening to my daughter singing, in the company of friends, utterly content.

'Sono obbediente, dolce, amorosa;'

Alma said, 'Is that the telephone?'

' ... mi fo guidar.'

'Mary?' said Janet.

'She should be in the air by now. Unless her plane is late.'

Alma held open the glass door into the hall, waving me through with a flourish of her right hand. I waltzed past her, made a mock curtsy, and lifted the phone off the hook, still slightly unbalanced.

'Mrs Molloy? Mrs Lena Molloy?'

It wasn't Mary. I steadied myself against the banisters and signalled to Alma to turn down the music ...

Singing Bird
A Novel
. Copyright © by Roisin McAuley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

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Singing Bird (P.S. Series) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book! It takes you to Ireland, such descriptive writing you feel like uou are there. Will keep you engaged from the beginning to the end as a mother looks for the birth parents of her daughter, who is now 26. This includes mystery, romance and a surprise ending!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books where you know something good is coming at the end. Something very unexpected -- if not for the reader, then for the character(s) involved. As I read it, I had very brief flashes of what was to come, but not on a conscious level. When all was revealed, I thought 'You know, I wondered about him . . .' This author does a fabulous job of keeping you pointed in a direction that allows you to be surprised (and terribly hurt for Lena!) at the end. I read this in one day. It is a very engaging, well-written story. I hope Roisin writes more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this Free Friday selection fom B&N. A short 241 page story of adoption and love. A wonderful woman, wife, mother, daughter and friend embarks on a journey with results she had not anticipated. I think good lessons. Some heartache, but a feel good story overall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! Thinking back, I probably should have guessed the ending, but the story kept me so enthralled I just got completely caught up in the reading of it. Will definitely consider more books by this author.
CatieN on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Lena and Jack Molloy adopted a baby girl, Mary, from Ireland 27 years ago. Mary is now a famous opera singer on a world tour with a scheduled stop in Ireland. Jack is on an extended business trip, so Lena decides to go to Ireland for the concert and to start searching for Mary's biological parents. Lena was also adopted and always deeply regretted not being able to find her birth parents. What ensues is Lena's search through Ireland and by Internet and then side stories about her friend Alma's love life and her daughter Mary's love life. The theme of the book is adultery, adultery, adultery. There are a few surprises, but they are far outweighed by the unbelievable coincidences and the everyone's-problems-are-solved ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a birth mother myself I found this book comforting and poignant. The story was well-drawn with interesting twists. I felt the author may have had personal experience or was close to one involved in such an experience. The story felt believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story with a few twist and turns. Story of women's friendship, live and search for family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt such a strong emotion when reading this book. The author does such a courageous story, leting his mind flow through the wind. This book has taught me valueable lessons, on which some can conclude in looking through the world through a diffrent perspective. This was a life chaning book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love a good story and this one is a keeper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one has it all. All in all a good read...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. Good twist at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, sad but good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Novels about adoption and family search have always intrigued me, and this story does not disappoint. The plotline is fresh and fast-moving, the characters are likable and genuine, and the author never resorts to trite or overused premises. It was a refreshing read, even though it dealt with serious issues. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe because I am adopted, or maybe because I love music, or maybe just because it is a great story, I loved this book. An easy smooth read, with people it is easy to cate about, I didn't see the twist coming and the last two pages were perfect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was impressed, it is well written, at first I didn't want to read it, then you slowly get pulled in. Then your utterly intrigued, before you know it there is slight confusion, then thoughts swirl about the plot and story line, then your blown away. Happy reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story!!! Read it in a day. I would definitely recommend this story .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago