||McKenna Publishing Group
||Aug 15, 2010
A Story About Life and Death, Sisterhood and Forgiveness
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Michele VanOrt Cozzens: Irish Twins
This is the story of two sets of Irish Twins—Anne and Molly—and Anne’s daughters, Jennifer and Catherine. Also known as Jenny and Caylie, they are approaching middle age when their mother dies and are left with many unanswered questions about a mother who left them far too quickly.
The story begins on the day of Anne’s death. She is 80 years old, retired and living with her husband of fifty-four years, Michael. While waterskiing on Mitten Lake in Northern Michigan, she suffers a fatal stroke. We follow her on her journey into the afterlife—a place called Ohr—where she meets her Irish Twin, Molly, who greets her with a hot cup of tea. With Molly as her guide, Anne faces her judgment and witnesses her life and the lives of her surviving husband and five children through endless cups of tea.
Anne is the narrator and the heart and soul of this tale. She keeps watch over her husband and children, and focuses on her Irish Twins. Jenny, her elder Irish Twin, has a two children and a happy marriage, yet struggles with the onset of middle age. Caylie has three boys, is divorced and facing loneliness and desperation. Meanwhile, the close nature of Jenny and Caylie’s own relationship is falling apart. Can they get back to being the tight-knit, trusting sisters they once were?
Through Anne’s journey we discover secrets and revelations of a sister, a WWII bride, a wife, a parent, a friend. This is a compassionate and emotional tale about common childhood expectations, which also uncovers unexpected insights about death. Ultimately, Irish Twins is a story about sisterhood and forgiveness.
Generations of Love By Robin Meloy Goldsby
In her newest work, "Irish Twins," Michele Cozzens weaves a tapestry of beautiful images with intriguing characters. With lyrical prose and a hefty dose of charm, she tells the unforgettable story of two generations of sisters. The result is enchanting and uplifting--a tonic for the heart.
Jenny and Caylie--one set of Irish twins--and the older generation of sisters, Anne and Molly, learn to love and lean on each other in life, in death, and in that in-between place that all of us wonder about. Cozzens tackles serious themes here, but, as is typical of her writing, she whisks just the right amount of humor into the story. Cozzens's opening scene details the waterskiing accident that causes Anne's death, and the lovely mix of humor and tragedy left me breathless and longing to know more about Anne. Anne, it turns out, has a lot to learn about herself.
I'm a big fan of Cozzens's work. She keeps changing the game, bouncing from memoir -I'm Living Your Dream Life: The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner - to romance A Line Between Friends-to stylized comedy It's Not Your Mother's Bridge Club. With "Irish Twins," Cozzens enters new territory, presenting a touching story that includes humor, whimsy, and elements of magical realism.
This is a novel that will stick with you. I don't think I'll ever drink a cup of tea without remembering these four women. Thank you, Ms. Cozzens, for a really great story!
Irish Twins, a Tour de Force by Bisi Adjapon
I had no idea what was in store for me when I started reading Irish Twins, a story about siblings born with less than a year between them. I was pleasantly surprised.
The writing is so palpable that we enter the pages and leave the world behind. From the first moment we meet Anne, the amazing protagonist, we are riveted. She demonstrates a rare strength both physically and emotionally. Thus when she meets an unexpected death, it's devastating. One is almost tempted to stop reading. Except that Anne never leaves us. In fact, we're only getting to know her. She sweeps us up to a wonderful place called Ohr where she sips cups of teas with her Irish Twin dead before her. Amidst the fragrance and through the steam of various brews, the two watch Anne's bereaved family on earth: a complex husband and four children, two of whom are also Irish Twins. Through flashbacks, layers and layers of family skeletons fall out of the closet. Two sets of Irish twins both on earth and Ohr must find a way to face painful truths if they are to have any prayer of healing.
This is a family saga well worth reading. I'm giving it five stars because I loved it and read it twice.
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