THE DELANEY WOMAN
Mira, June 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Kellie Delaney, a second level school teacher from Belfast, Ireland, lives with and cares for her widowed brother, Connor and his four-year-old son, Danny. Connor Delaney, her twin, is a criminologist who works for British law enforcement. On a holiday trip, Connor and his small son are killed in an auto accident under suspicious circumstances. When Kellie's demands for answers about her brother's death are stonewalled by investigators, she begins her own investigation. She finds the name and number for Tom Whelan among her brother's things and goes to Banburren, Ireland to find some answers.
Tom Whelan, proprietor of Whelan Bed and Breakfast in Banburren, is a mystery. Seemingly a sensitive, peace-loving man, a poet, musician, craftsman and a loving father, he is also a man with a past. Tom doesn't hide the fact that he served time in prison for revolutionary political activities; however his stint in Long Kesh, also known as the Maze, turned his life around. Since his release he has led a quiet life, raising his seven-year-old daughter. Tom's estranged wife, Claire, a passionate IRA revolutionary, is also serving a life sentence for her part in the assassination of Lord Mountjoy.
Tom is attracted to Kellie even though she is secretive. Shortly after her arrival at the Whelan Bed and Breakfast, Kellie begins helping with the running of the Inn, cooking and cleaning for Tom and Heather. Kellie finds comfort by caring for Tom and his little girl. But eventually, Kellie's search for her brother's killers put Tom and his daughter in danger. Is Connor involved in her brother's death? How does Kellie deal with her attraction to a man who is already married?
THE DELANEY WOMAN is a tale of romantic suspense and mystery. This authentic Irish novel allows you a peek inside the lives of faraway people with many interesting references and descriptions. Beautifully written, this contemporary romantic tale brings to life the emotions and trials of modern Irish Catholic families caught up in nationalist passions. The story unfolds primarily through dialogue, sprinkled with a few Martha Stewart scenes of cooking and decorating at the bed and breakfast. Kellie Delaney is a grieving, emotionally stressed woman who struggles to deal with her loss. The circumstance of the plot occasionally put her in situations that cause you to question the wisdom of her actions and motives. Tom Whelan, an appealing character, at times seemed just a little too trusting for a man who is an ex-convict with a shady past.
Award winning writer, Jeanette Baker, a literature and writing teacher from Southern California, has written several Irish theme stories. THE DELANEY WOMAN is her latest offering; an in-depth family story of loss, faith and the healing power of love.
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