So Far Away
So Far Away
Reagan Arthur Books, Hardcover, 9780316097697, 336pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O'Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Boston family. The catch? Bridget lives only in the pages of a dusty old 1920s diary Natalie unearthed in her mother's basement. But the life she describes is as troubling - and mysterious - as the one Natalie is trying to navigate herself, almost a century later.
I am writing this down because this is my story. There were only ever two people who knew my secret, and both are gone before me.
Who was Bridget, and what became of her?
Natalie escapes into the diary, eager to unlock its secrets, and reluctantly accepts the help of library archivist Kathleen Lynch, a widow with her own painful secret: she's estranged from her only daughter. Kathleen sees in Natalie traces of the daughter she has lost, and in Bridget, another spirited young woman at risk.
What could an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? As the troubles of a very modern world close in around them, and Natalie's torments at school escalate, the faded pages of Bridget's journal unite the lonely girl and the unhappy widow - and might even change their lives forever.
Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of The Arrivals. She worked for several years as a journalist and her articles have been published in a wide variety of business and consumer magazines. She received a master's degree in English literature from New York University. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their three children.
PRAISE FOR SO FAR AWAY:
"So Far Away is the moving story of three very different women whose lives improbably intersect. Meg Mitchell Moore effortlessly moves among a teenage cyber-bullying victim, a mother who longs for her lost daughter, and a 1920s Irish domestic with a shocking secret. The result is a powerful page-turner about love, loss, motherhood, and friendship."
-J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Maine and Commencement
"Meg Mitchell Moore has taken the hot button topic of cyber bullying and crafted a story so compellingly real you will never forget her thirteen-year-old heroine, Natalie Gallagher. Moore's pitch-perfect rendering of this girl's voice is nothing short of stunning."
-Laura Harrington, author of Alice Bliss
"This sweet and thoughtful novel is both tense and elegiac, exploring the damage we inflict on ourselves and each other, and the strength it takes to heal."
"Moore wields a powerfully emotive style, not unlike that of Francine Prose, in which she displays both deep compassion and winning humor...A beautifully told story of human fallibility and connection."
-Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist (Starred Review)
PRAISE FOR THE ARRIVALS:
"What an intoxicating read! In The Arrivals, Meg Mitchell Moore takes on the age-old topic of parents and children and their children with a fresh perspective, a canny understanding of human emotion, and the absolute best dialogue I have ever read. Both charming and deeply meaningful, this is one book you must not miss."
--- Elin Hilderbrand
"A tender portrait of a tangled, complicated, all-too real family, The Arrivals left me teary and fulfilled. A sparkling, page-turning debut."
--- Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and Department of Lost and Found
"With crisp, insightful prose, Meg Mitchell Moore examines the anxieties, intimacies, wounds, misunderstandings, and joys that bind the Owen family as they face one long summer together. This lovely, satisfying story is an absolute pleasure to read."
--- Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
"Meg Mitchell Moore's debut novel, The Arrivals, reads like the finest of guidebooks, pointing out the beauty and excitement of an untraveled place, yet simultaneously offering readers a map of their own families, with the intricacies, misunderstandings, heartbreak, and forgiveness found there. Under Moore's deft and gloriously talented hand, the best kind of story telling is woven with epiphany, and readers will emerge knowing a place so close to home in an entirely new way."
--- Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
"[A] promising debut...Moore finds a crisp narrative in the morass of an overpacked household, and she keeps the proceedings moving with an assurance and outlook reminiscent of Laurie Colwin, evoking emotional universals with the simplest of observations."