The Blind Side of the Heart: A Novel

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9780060932350: The Blind Side of the Heart: A Novel

From the author of the critically acclaimed novel A Brother's Blood, comes a haunting story about an Irish housekeeper who must discover the truth when her friend, the parish priest, is accused of horrible crimes.

Maggie Quinn has had her share of misfortune: Having grown up poor and fatherless in Galway, she was forced to quit school early and find work to support her ailing mother and her own child. But when a tragedy of her own making strikes, it is too much for her to bear. Plagued by feelings of guilt and sorrow and by losing her faith in God, she runs from her past; first by fleeing Ireland for America and later by drowning her sorrows with the bottle. Maggie hits rock bottom when she makes an unsuccessful suicide attempt. While recuperating in a hospital bed, she meets the remarkable Father Jack Devlin. With his compassion and love, Maggie once more finds her faith and a reason to live.

For the past eighteen years, Maggie has devoted herself to the man who saved her life. But now Father Jack, the beloved if controversial priest in the small town of Hebron Falls, Massachusetts, is accused of having done terrible things to altar boys many years before. At first Maggie is convinced that the accusations are only lies brought out by Father Jack's enemies. Yet as she sifts through the memories of her life with Father Jack, doubts begin to emerge: Could she have been blind to a darker side of her friend all these years? And when new information surfaces regarding the unsolved murder of a young altar boy with possible links to Father Jack, her faith is once again put to the test. Maggie must search her memory and her heart to help her decide what to believe. The Blind Side of the Heart poignantly captures one woman's struggle to remain loyal to a friend while at the same time she is forced to examine her conscience to arrive at the truth.

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About the Author:

Michael White's previous novels include the New York Times Notable Book A Brother's Blood as well as The Garden of Martyrs and Soul Catcher, both Connecticut Book of the Year finalists. He is the director of Fairfield University's MFA program in creative writing, and lives in Connecticut.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Editor and novelist White (American Fiction IV, 1993, etc.; the mystery A Brothers Blood, 1996) describes the trial of a Catholic priest for sodomy and murder in a small Massachusetts town. Behind every good priest, in this country at least, stands an Irish widow with an iron and a broom. Maggie Quinn seems to fit the rectory housekeeper mold pretty well: Fiercely loyal to her employer, Father Jack Devlin, she nurses him when hes sick, worries when he comes home late, and allows herself a drop of his Jameson's now and again when his back is turned. A single mother from County Galway, Maggie left Ireland brokenhearted after her young son drowned. Once in the States, though, she went from bad to worse and finally ended up in a mental hospital after a failed suicide attempt. There she was found by Father Jack, who got her back on her feet and gave her a new lease on life. Now, though, her placid world starts to unravel anew when two former altar boys accuse Father Jack of rape. Maggie sticks by Father Jack even after hes convicted and sent to jail, proclaiming his innocence to her neighbors and suffering no small humiliation as a result. But things become even more ominous when, while in prison, Father Jack is indicted againthis time for the murder of a 12-year-old boy. Again, Maggie comes to the priest's defense, but some of the details of the case are troubling, even to her. Has she misplaced her trust? Or is it simply being tried? In the end, Maggie discovers that ``faith'' means a lot more than the Penny Catechism let on. Overlong and written in a rambling, anecdotal style (``Now Mrs. Burke had a son named Franny, and here's where things take a bad turn'') thats annoying. But White's narrative is strong enough to overcome his own verbosity and provides some nice twists along the way. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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