If you haven’t read anything by Mary McPhee then now is a great time to start.
Absolution by Mary McPhee
A burnt-out Catholic priest and a woman doctor with a past meet at a make-shift clinic on the Syrian-Iraqi border. It is a reconnection for them: ten years ago Father Joseph Luger (Lujhere) heard Jane Browne’s desperate, late-night confession. Jane—who was Angela Perrault in those days—was a seventeen-year-old student at a high school in a U.S. city where Father Luger taught religion. He was a young, untried new priest. She confessed to a terrible crime but evaded his questions about it, trying his patience. Although he doesn’t quite believe her, he gives her absolution. Soon after, there are serious consequences of his less than wise handling of a distraught young person.
Through their growing relationship under stressful conditions of aiding refugees from the Syrian rebellion, a strong attraction grows between them, plus the understanding that each is the reason the other is there, in such an unforgiving place. But forgiveness is what they both seek, or absolution. Their need for this is rooted in what happened ten years before. One of them is forced to make a devastating choice.
About the author, Mary McPhee:
Mary McPhee lives in Denver. It is the scene of most of her books with the exception of her fictionalized memoirs. Mary’s first book on Kindle was “Code Name Nora: Life in a Retirement Home.” According to Nora, it’s fun, companionable, and a little zany.
Her second book on Kindle is an imaginative stretch—about a woman who doesn’t age like her contemporaries. In “The Woman Who Lived to Be 150,” Katie Bonner awakens on the morning of her 75th birthday feeling distinctly different. The difference in Katie goes on for 75 more years. It’s an intriguing story and hard to put down, so reviewers have said.
Her third book is a novelized memoir, “A Small Flame.” If you want to read a loving portrayal of a Catholic parochial school education, this book is for you. “A Small Flame” isn’t all sweetness and light, however. Its protagonist, young Nora, has a hard time with a stepmother out of Central Casting, and an autocratic nun whose mere glance is said to “stop sin in its tracks. “Flame” presents a vivid picture of life in the 1930s in Middle America, leading up to the start of WWII.
Back to lighthearted semi-fantasy: “(What to do?) About Ben Adams” presents a man whom people love to hate. Ben Adams is a stinker both in his private and professional life. But when he has surgery to repair a brain aneurysm, the poking around in his grey matter throws his empathy center into overdrive. Ben awakens from a coma feeling unconditional love for the human race. While a wonderful change, those around him find it difficult to deal with the new Ben. He has a series of adventures, the last sending him to meet with a dreaded Mid-Eastern terrorist. But unfortunately for Ben, he’s losing his “mojo,” and the only way to keep his head (literally) is to charm the evil one.
“The Smell of Rain” is a short novella about the memory of walking in the rain with a special person; years later, the memory is relived.
“A Fresh Start in a New Place,” another fictionalized memoir, is about a fifty-something woman who drops out of big city life to live in the country. She hopes to embrace everything about her new life, but the best-laid plans don’t always work out.
Mary McPhee’s next book is a cozy mystery set in a rural village (as most delightful ones are). Again, the story has to do with aging. But in a strange way. “Green Old Age” is a malady that strikes young people. They become aged overnight. It’s almost worse than murder. Can green old age be reversed? This is what young investigative reporter Tory Grey races to find out before she’s put into a rocking chair herself.
“Flowers in a Window” is a suspense thriller. Interior decorator Andrea Clarke returns to her posh condo in Denver to find Maurice, her husband of less than a year, fully clothed in the bathtub, half his face blown away and a gun in his hand. Traumatized, Andrea seeks a place of refuge to await the birth of her baby. She recreates the scene of a farmhouse from an old decorating book and is content there until a stranger shows up. He tells her the man in the bathtub with the destroyed face was not Maurice, but his brother, a homeless man. Andrea must return to the city and go into a boarded-up, abandoned building frequented by homeless people to learn the truth.
For a change of pace, as if the classic “Pride and Prejudice” needed another take-off, Mary wrote “Darcy and Lizzy: Bewitched.” The Regency couple find themselves time-traveling to a recreation of the movie “Dirty Dancing,” and learn new moves to take back to Pemberley.
“Report from the Writers Conference,” a long short story, is a humorous take on an aspiring writer hoping to connect with an agent for her novel.
Mary McPhee’s next book on Kindle is “Absolution.” A burnt-out priest and a woman doctor with a past meet at a clinic aiding refugees on the Syrian-Iraqi border. It’s a reconnection for them: ten years before, Father Joseph Luger heard Jane Browne’s desperate, late-night confession. Their presence in the Mid East stems from that, and their mutual need for absolution.
“The Third Memory” is about a man with total amnesia whose injured brain becomes the prize in a sinister plot. It’s set partially in the Middle East, and several of the characters from “Absolution” appear in this new book.
Mary McPhee has fourteen books available on Amazon for a fraction of their worth!