Bishop's Road

by Catherine Safer
ISBN: 1894294785

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A Review of: Bishops Road
by W.P.Kinsella

Bishops Road is a keeper. It has the lovable characters of Maeve Binchy, the magic realism of Alice Hoffman, combined with the insightful quirkiness of Anne Tyler. The setting is St.John's, NF, where a Mrs. Miflin operates a rooming house that was a former convent. The author says of the former tenants, "...the holy women confused several generations of youngsters for a hundred years or more until they all just dried up and blew away." This sets the tone for events to come. The roomers, all women, are a strange and miraculous lot. Ginny Mustard is a black teenager with yellow hair (hence the name). She has been raised in an orphanage and taught to believe she is stupid-she is anything but. Ruth is a middle-aged woman with a terrible secret that has kept her from living a full life. Maggie is a young woman who, in response to trauma, has chosen not to speak for several years. Eve is an elderly lady who tends the garden and just might be Mother Earth. Judy is the most recent arrival, a teenager on probation with orange hair and pierced everything, and with her "comes a wonderful disturbance," which

"hitched a ride in her pocket and finding the inhabitants of Mrs. Miflin's house needing a little more than they had bargained for, has decided to stay a while. With the moon's blessing it creeps under the doors and through closets leaving smudges of itself on shirts and underwear, photographs and letters. It goes to the attic for a quick look around before sliding under a pillow to nap."

How the lives of these unique characters intertwine, makes for a delightful reading experience. There is a murder, a wedding, family reunions, and secrets bared. The novel is perhaps a little too long and the pace flags a little in the final third, but it is still one of the most memorable books of the year.

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