Words Take Flight Books

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By Maryanne J. Kane

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Author Maryanne J. Kane combines humor with the right amount of pathos in YELLOW BUTTERFLIES, a moving meditation on faith, family, and redemption.
After a life-changing mistake, a young Irish girl emigrates to America, becomes a nun, and discovers a path through spiritual doubt.

“In primary school, I learned I had the face of a donkey’s arse, hair the color of Shamus McGinty’s nose after a night with the drink, creepy-ghoul eyes with flecks of shite across my nose. And I learned I was fat—really, really fat.” So begins Maryanne Kane’s novel YELLOW BUTTERFLIES, a fascinating story of love, death, and the power of faith.

In an unnamed Irish town in the 1920s, a young girl, Theresa Anna Maria O’Mara, is born to a family with five sons: Michael, Willie, Paddy-O, James, and John. Their mother dies as she is born, and when their father dies a few years later, the eldest (Michael) steps up to lead the family. More tragedy strikes when Theresa’s friend Mikey passes away. Then Theresa herself injures a schoolmate, Joseph Clancy, risking retribution by Joseph’s troubled father. To protect Theresa, Michael and the parish leaders arrange for her to travel to America to live out her life as a nun. Her life is one of piety and struggle. There are conflicts with other nuns, homesickness for Ireland, guilt, anger, a sense of abandonment, and even confusion about her calling (at one point, she prays, “God, it’s not that I hate you…well, not really. You scare me.”).

The Catholic Church has been rocked by scandals in recent years, but YELLOW BUTTERFLIES includes none of those. Instead, it offers a warts-and-all look into the heart of one person whose life is a battleground for faith and doubt. Kane’s prose is plain yet poignant: lines like “Joseph Clancy and Patrick Finley prowled like trapped jackals” appear on almost every page. The book is an easy read, despite some awkward dialogue (ex: “I’m grand, Theresa. Sis’er John and Fadder O’Rielly fixed me proper. They’re even walkin’ me home today after school. Besides, ye screamed like a banshee and woke the dead, fer certain, you did!”). Readers looking for answers amid their own spiritual trials may not find them all in this novel. What they will find, however, is a woman who is weakened by doubt yet never surrenders to it.

Author Maryanne J. Kane combines humor with the right amount of pathos in YELLOW BUTTERFLIES, a moving meditation on faith, family, and redemption.

~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader

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