Thank you to Colette for a proof copy of her novel to read and review, which is being published by Bluemoose Books today. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.
When three brothers find a dead magpie and peg it to the washing line, the resurrection re-enactment becomes a portent of tragedy to come, and a reminder of past guilt and trauma. In Captain Jesus we see a family struggle to cope as loss rips through their lives; through the teenage eyes of their mother, twenty years earlier, we glimpse the events that shape her response. The icons, influences and family histories that define faith connect the two narratives as the family gradually heals, thanks to the quietness of love and the natural world.
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This thought provoking debut, featuring a dual timeline, with a mother dealing with loss and the other is her memories from being a teenager in a single parent Catholic household. Could the actions of the teenager have led to the tragedies that befall her family in later years?
As a mum I found the losses that Marie suffered heartbreaking. The modern part of the story is ‘told’ by her eldest son, James aka Jim, who talks first about how the children found a dead magpie and tried to bring it back to life, which frightened their mum. The early part of the story appears quite humorous, with references the ‘big fat baby’ his mum is carrying. However after the accident in the garden, his Mum withdraws from family life. The narrative about how the family deal with this, by Jim is very emotional and believable.
The other narrative is the memories of Marie, a young Catholic girl, living with a strict religious mum, which explain why she blames herself for the tragedies that have happened to her precious family. As a non religious person, it was interesting to read how her experience of religion impacted on her grief and feelings of guilt.
In a time when many of us are experiencing grief for the loss of loved ones, this is a well planned and executed book about how a family had to deal with a terrible loss.
This isn’t an easy read, due to the subject matter but I’m happy to recommend it. I look forward to reading more by Colette Snowden in the future.
I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember; words are my first love and I’m fortunate that they have also become my profession.
After experimenting with performance poetry and discovering that I’m really not much of a performer, I began writing short stories, one of which, ‘Blue’ was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Shortly afterwards, my first child was born and for several years I stopped writing fiction.
I have always worked as a PR and content writer, however, and after winning a competition with the first three chapters of ‘The Secret to Not Drowning’, I completed the manuscript. The team at Bluemoose replied the same day that I emailed them the first few chapters!
I am now working on a second novel which explores themes of signs and symbols and the blurred lines between religion and superstition.