Years after her mother abandoned six-year-old Margaret Gower and her deeply religious father, the now-grown Margaret questions the past and looks forward to her future. By the author of A Mother and Two Daughters. Reprint. NYT.
Here are two great quotes:
"Not until we accept our shortcomings can we do God's will in the world. Each person has a specific shortcoming to accept and endure and try to work on. It's that person's task, it is my task. And however painful or shameful or just plain aggravating it is to me, or to you, that very shortcoming is a part of my destiny; it may even be inseparable from why I will have been valuable to the human community. Because, by bearing it, learning it from the roots up, letting it speak its message to me, offering it in my mind and my body in which to work itself out, I may be doing my part to heal what is split in the world."
"And now it is our turn to follow Him by seeking to know our own redemptive roles, seeking to find out what is my part, what is your part, your unique part, in the human drama we find ourselves enmeshed in. Don't let yourself be unduly put down by the jeers, but don't be taken in unduly by the laurels and waving of palm branches, either. Just ride your little donkey as best you can, focus daily on those places in your existence where intensity blazes up...and let God do the rest."
This story hinges on the scene where young Margaret childishly tries to "punish" her mother for having to share her mother's affections with her mother's eccentric artist friend who blows into town and changes all their lives. Tragically, it is the last time Margaret sees her mother. It may sound melancholy at first, but there is much more to this story than the tragedy of a girl who loses her mother in childhood.
As all good stories often do, it ends with some surprises, and leaves just the right amount of burning questions unanswered. Look for the sequel, and find Margaret grown up and still struggling with the echoes of her past in "Evensong."