Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mark Your Calendar for May to Get The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis --Spotlighting the Portuguese Community at Race Point

"Set against the coast of Provincetown..."

Hallie had been on the roof before, but that night was different. She would never be sure whether her sleep had been disturbed by the shift in temperature or by a sound that entered her room as stealthily as moonlight. Was it singing? By the time she opened her eyes and sat up in bed, it was gone. For some reason, she thought of how the old people wept when they played fado music at the annual Portuguese Festival, Saudade, her great-aunt Del called it: homesick music. But according to her father, the emotion was about
more than place. It was a profound longing for everything
that was lost and would never be regained...

Hallie was surprised that her father, with his famously keen sense of observation, hadn't yet discovered her secret excursions to the roof. The only one who knew was her best friend, Felicia.
"I think you just miss your mom," Felicia had said, twisting her wheat-colored braids and studying Hallie like a therapist, after she confided to her on the playground. "You go up there because you're looking for her."

 "Liz Cooper's got nothing to do with it." Hallie insisted, wishing she hadn't brought it up. "Besides, it's scientifically impossible to miss someone you can't remember."
She would never admit that she didn't go onto the roof to find her mother; she did it to escape her. In many ways, Thorne House still belonged to Liz Cooper, whose fledgling renovations and dreams of a family large enough to fill the place had ended abruptly on the highway. Though the first floor had been gradually taken over by Nick's rambling practice, it was cluttered with her memory...

Nick's mother's family had arrived with the first wave of Portuguese immigrants nearly a hundred years earlier, but on his father's side he was only second generation, and the ties with people "at home" were all still strong. Photographs of family in the Azores mixed with shots of Nick's friends from Provincetown and Harvard. There were pictures of him and Liz Cooper on the leafy, brick streets of Cambridge, where they'd fallen in love, at their small private wedding, and then holding their newborn daughter. But most of the wall was taken up by images of Hallie...The only thing that had stopped him from walking into the sea after he lost his wife...

The Orphans of Race Point
By Patry Francis

This novel was like unwrapping a heartrending but wonderful gift that was totally unexpected, but just want you would have wanted if you'd been asked! With the children running on the cover, I  pictured a family drama which it was--one that surrounded the families at Race Point, some of whom were single-parent families and others who seemed to be orphans just by not connecting with parents.  Hallie Costa, daughter of the town's doctor, was just as happy having just her father and herself since they had grown very close since her mother had been killed in an accident. Still, she knew that her father still missed his wife very much and would only occasionally date new women.

"You mean a party?"
"More like a few couples. I'm going with Christina,"
he said, referring to the girl he'd been seeing for
several months. "And Voodoo {Gus}really wants to
hang out with you."
Hallie's color deepened. "What is this--a summons?
The great Voodoo Silva has chosen me as the girl of
the week? I thought he was going out with one of
Daisy's cousins from Truro, anyway."
"Over," Neil said with a dismissive swoop of his
hand. "Come on. What do you say? He would
have called you and asked you all nice and proper.
It's just--well, like I said, he gets nervous around
"Are you trying to tell me Voodoo is shy? Please.
He's got to be the most arrogant boy I've ever met,"
she said...
With a thriving practice, Hallie was often on her own or with her two friends, Neil and Gus. Gus was an orphan living with relatives. His father was in jail for the murder of his wife. When his father was convicted, he said at court that he didn't want to ever see his son at the jail...

Gus had been in the house when she was killed. Knowing that she would probably be killed by her husband, and after he had tried to protect her once and had gotten hurt, she had talked to him and then forced a promise that if he heard similar noises, that he would hide in the closet and not come out.

He did what was promised, but it left him catatonic, unable to talk... They had tried counseling, but everything failed. So Dr. Costa said it was his turn to try and Gus did speak one word... But nothing more...

"You'll have to finish the rest
yourself,: she said. Then she
reached out to shake his hand
like her father always did when
he was finished with a patient.
Gus stared at her extended palm,
refusing to accept what it meant.
"Wait!" he finally called. "You
know I can't read that book."
..."You have to," she said,
stopping him with the firmness
in her voice. "Because you'll
never know the end of the

Gus' friend Neil would visit every day, but his aunt refused to have him come in to visit...

Hallie took the initiative, bought two gold fish and took one of her father's books as gifts. That day and for as long as it took, Hallie would go and read from David Copperfield... Why that book? Because it was a story of an orphan who becomes the hero of his own story... Slowly Gus came back to his life, as it now was...

Gus and Hallie did become a couple and were very much in love. The three were constantly involved until they reached their senior prom. Everybody had gone on to the beach, drinking and dancing the night away. Until Neil came up to Hallie and made a pass, even ripping her dress! If I were in Gus' mind at the time, I can almost guarantee that he had a flashback of his father beating his mother...

He went after Neil, beating him senseless...Hallie knew that he could kill him if somebody didn't intervene. She tried but, without realizing what he was doing, Gus knocked Hallie away and she was seriously hurt.

Nothing was ever the same...  Time stood still for Hallie in the hospital. But Gus was forever changed. He had early in his life been very involved in church, and even after the tragedy, he would spend time, alone, sitting in a pew of the sanctuary. He and the priest had formed a relationship and had spent time talking. Now Gus had turned back to the church and was on his way to enter the seminary when Hallie and he had their first and last talk before he left.

An interesting sub-plot finds Hallie later married to a surprising somewhat new character, who was the estranged son of the man who had lodged at the Costa home...

Only then does the mystery, suspense, and explosive information culminates into a unique twist of deception, intrigue, and a clear definition of good versus evil. For me, it came as a shock because I didn't pick up a clue for the ultimate ending... And you know what that means! I loved it!

Even if I would have preferred a different ending... 

I just finished the book, Coincidence (Read my review)... 'cause I would have to say that this story would have been part of the grand plan, if it wasn't just fantastic fiction! LOL



I grew up in of Brockton, Massachusetts, a city known for its legendary boxers and its once proud heritage as "the shoe city of the world." Many of my ancestors spent time laboring in the now ghostly leather factories, including my father and both grandfathers. They worked long hours, enjoyed vibrant lives with their families, and dreamed of sending their children to college. They succeeded.

A photograph of my grandfather, John Joseph Heney, in the factory hangs over my desk. I keep it there because in all my life, I've never known a finer, more intelligent man, and because it reminds me daily how fortunate I am to do the work I do.

It also recalls his personal two word motto: "No kick." To us, that phrase might suggest a watery drink; but in John's era it meant "no complaints," and it reflected his personal brand of tough optimism. "No kick" meant that if you want to do something in this world, whether it's painting a house, making a relationship work, or just staying alive (he lived to be ninety-nine), you didn't whine about the cost. You just got on with it. It's still the best advice I've ever gotten as a writer.

As a child, I dreamed of being a dancer, the first woman President of the United States, a girl singer with a rock band, a teacher, a contemplative nun, a police detective and in my Albert Schweitzer phase, a great humanitarian doctor. By the time I was ten, I had chosen names for the twelve children I planned to raise in my spare time.

But the truth is I never had a choice. I was a writer from the time I first held a pen—if not earlier. When my cousin Lorraine and I sat on the steps on a boring summer day, wondering what to do, I'd always suggest, "Let's write a story!"

I quickly learned that not everyone found sitting at the kitchen table hunched over a sheet of blank paper the best way to spend a perfect summer day.

Don't ask me why, but I did—and I still do.

Of course, my life hasn't been all about writing. It's also been happily filled by a husband, four children, and more pets than a family has a right to love. Since the poetry and fiction I wrote for literary magazines paid mostly in contributor's copies, I also worked as a waitress. I didn't know how much I actually enjoyed the work until I left it behind to write full time.

Making my lifelong obsession with writing a reality has taken commitment, sacrifice, and above all, patience. Though I will never have an opportunity to live out my other childhood career fantasies, through writing, I have inhabited countless lives, most far more interesting than my own. As my grandfather would say, "No kick."

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