|A wonderful new storyteller unleashes a soaring debut that sweeps from the hills of Hawaii to the veldt of South Africa. "Come Sunday" is a novel about searching for a true homeland, family bonds torn asunder, and the unearthing of decades-old secrets.
Descriptions, Reviews, etc
Publishers Weekly (Monday , April 13, 2009):
In her poignant first novel, former South African magazine editor Morley explores a mother's grief. Abbe Deighton, part-time journalist and full-time wife and mother, finds herself living in Hawaii with her preacher husband, Greg, and precocious three-year-old daughter, Cleo, thousands of miles from her South African birthplace. Her flight from an abusive father and complicit mother is not accidental, her poet brother also fled to America and when Cleo is killed in a car accident, Abbe re-examines the choices that have brought her so far from home. She and her husband become estranged as he turns to God and forgives the man who killed their daughter while Abbe descends into self-pity and anger at the unfairness of life. Their marriage suffers and Greg loses his job, forcing Abbe to turn homeward for financial help. Upon returning to South Africa, she confronts the ghosts of her family's past and the reality of her homeland's future. Morley convincingly depicts a grief-stricken woman without resorting to clichés, and though she telegraphs the resolution of Abbe's plight early on, the storytelling, line by line, is rather beautiful. "(June)" Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal (Sunday , March 15, 2009):
Each person's grief is unique and, as with an accident along the side of the road, everyone slows down to witness another's suffering, thinking, "That could easily have been me." Clearly, there is a market for books that provide this sense of vicarious suffering and ultimately empowering self-discovery, and this debut novel about grief and repurposing one's life after tremendous loss fits the mold. It begins with a sense of foreboding and a dark secret tied to the protagonist's family farm in South Africa (where the author was born). Abbe Deighton has since fled her homeland and now lives with her husband and young daughter in Hawaii. She chafes in her role as minister's wife and suburban mother and is unhappy without really being able to pin down why. When her daughter's accidental death tears her life apart, Abbe must return to South Africa in order to discover the truth about her own mother and to begin healing. The character development in this novel is quite engaging, but ultimately the plot is somewhat predictable. Recommended for larger collections. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 2/15/09.]Gwen Vredevoogd, Marymount Univ., Arlington, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Booklist (Wednesday, April 15, 2009):
*Starred Review* There are no strategies, no magic words of wisdom that can help a mother cope with the death of her only child, as Abbe so woefully discovers when her three-year-old daughter, Cleo, is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Deluged by grief, Abbe retreats into an angry, cynical world, irrevocably alienating her husband, Greg, an ineffectual minister of a waning congregation in one of Honolulu's poorer neighborhoods. As her marriage dissolves and her misery deepens, Abbe's isolation causes her to reflect on her own tumultuous childhood in South Africa, her parents' violently abusive marriage, and the conflicts left unresolved by their ill-timed deaths. When given an opportunity to return to her homeland, Abbe is forced to confront painful truths about her past and make essential decisions about her future. While stories of parents coping with the tragic death of a child are not new, first-time novelist Morley brings a pathos palpable in its authenticity and a maturity arresting in its conviction. Firmly establishing her in the pantheon of such insightful authors as Chris Bohjalian, Sue Miller, and Anita Shreve, Morley's poignant, read-in-one-sitting tale of loss and renewal will haunt readers. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)
A wonderful new storyteller unleashes a soaring debut that sweeps from the hills of Hawaii to the veldt of South Africa. "Come Sunday "is that joyous, special thing: a saga that captivates from the very first page, breaking our hearts while making our spirits soar. Abbe Deighton is a woman who has lost her bearings. Once a child of the African plains, she is now settled in Hawaii, married to a minister, and waging her battles in a hallway of monotony. There is the leaky roof, the chafing expectations of her husband's congregation, and the constant demands of motherhood. But in an instant, beginning with the skid of tires, Abbe's battlefield is transformed when her three-year-old daughter is killed, triggering in Abbe a seismic grief that will cut a swath through the landscape of her life and her identity. What an enthralling debut this is! What a storyteller we have here! As Isla Morley's novel sweeps from the hills of Honolulu to the veldt of South Africa, we catch a hint of the spirit of Barbara Kingsolver and the mesmerizing truth of Jodi Picoult. We are reminded of how it felt, a while ago, to dive into the drama of "The Thorn Birds." "Come Sunday "is a novel about searching for a true homeland, family bonds torn asunder, and the unearthing of decades-old secrets. It is a novel to celebrate, and Isla Morley is a writer to love.
- Library Journal Prepub Alert02/15/2009 pg. 88 (EAN 9780374126872, Hardcover)
- Library Journal03/15/2009 pg. 95 (EAN 9780374126872, Hardcover)
- Publishers Weekly04/13/2009 pg. 30 (EAN 9780374126872, Hardcover)
- Booklist04/15/2009 pg. 23 (EAN 9780374126872, Hardcover) - *Starred Review