Michelle Dim-St. Pierre’s tale BLOODY COFFEE gives us a young, beautiful, outspoken heroine determined to learn the truth of her own origins.
Turning eighteen is a dramatic moment for anyone. When Leigh Stone’s mother shares her journals, Leigh discovers that her existence is the byproduct of a secret—or not-so-secret—passionate affair. Her mother has kept the truth from Leigh; the man she grew up calling “dad” is not her biological father. Determined to find the truth, Leigh leaves New York, and the only father she’s known, to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel to confront the man she believes is her biological father, Dr. Ezra Sloan. But is the truth that she seeks even more elusive? Dr. Sloan’s coarse and agitated wife vehemently denies that Sloan is Leigh’s father. And what role does the sympathetic Dr. Levon play in the drama that has prefigured Leigh’s existence? In her dogged pursuit of the truth, will the passionate Leigh find a love of her own?
The search for a father, the rejection of a mother, and the early stirring of love, are all told through young Leigh, whose character is richly drawn. She is a charming and enraging character, by turns fervent, brittle, outspoken, energetic, suspicious, eager and frightened. More than once the question arises in an adult reader, “Leigh, how could you think such a thing?”only to be reminded that she’s barely eighteen.
The most compelling relationship in this story is between Leigh and her mother, Sharon Lapidot. We see Sharon filtered through Leigh’s perspective. To Leigh, Sharon has deceived her, profoundly betraying her daughter. While Sharon’s actions—her tears, or tenderness or concern—may seem measured to a reader, in Leigh they elicit rage. Leigh’s outsized reactions to her mother will strike a chord in any child for whom adulthood required fierce separation from a parent.
Several other elements make for an unusual and interesting take on romance and forbidden love. Leigh, though her fierce spirit drives this story, is an innocent bystander, the side effect of a love affair nearly two decades old. Additionally, Leigh’s young and somewhat puritanical perspective on relationships is constantly challenged by the worldly Israelis she encounters, either of her mother’s generation or on the part of the handsome, young Dr. Dankner.
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre’s novel BLOODY COFFEE is a well-told coming-of-age story with some richly drawn characters and an unusual and interesting take on romance and forbidden love.
~Ellen Graham for IndieReader