About the Book:
• Publisher: T.S. Poetry Press (February 2, 2012)
About the Author:
Where to begin? I was drawn to this tale of a young Catholic girl in Ireland in love with a Jewish boy. Just as she is to meet his family she finds she is pregnant. It’s the ’50ies and interfaith marriage is challenging enough but sex before said marriage. Uh-uh. Of course our heroine, Marian finds herself pregnant and with the advice and help of her Uncle, a priest she hies off to a home for unwed mothers run by nuns. It turns out to be a prison like estate where the fallen girls are mistreated and browbeaten for their wantonness.
Ultimately Marian marries her Ben and they settle into life and have a daughter, Johanna. All seems right with the world until Nurse, a woman from Marian’s past comes to the house to tell her that her son, Adrian is not with a family in America as she thought but rather in a Dublin orphanage and not doing so well. Marian confesses to Ben and seeks custody of their son only to find that the Catholic church and the laws of Ireland are very much against their regaining their own child.
A powerful tale eh? So much possibility. The horrors of the Catholic church. The evils it teaches, the power it held. The guilt of a mother. This could have been an excellent book. But for me it wasn’t. The characters were all unlikable; Marian never changed. She was a whiny, unthinking woman who neglected her current family in the trials to regain her son. Ben a man of all the typical Jewish stereotypes who wanted to make peace wherever he could until the end. Johanna, a truly unpleasant child. Father Brennan, Marian’s protector but only concerned with appearances. Then there were the nuns and priests at the orphan schools and orphanages – I’m sure the evils portrayed occurred but these were caricatures instead of characters.
The book was dark upon dark upon darker. There was minimal nuance and little hope. And the title? Good god! Was it to cause buzz? It comes from one small piece of the book and has minimal bearing on the story.
Ugh! It really could have been so much more and I am disappointed.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of The Whipping Club from TLC Book Tours gratis. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.