When visiting Ballymorris in Ireland for a funeral, a down-on-his-luck American reporter learns of a story that happened only months after his last visit many years before. A group of four teenagers, three of whom are family friends, claimed to have been visited by the Virgin Mary. Almost twenty years later, one of them denies it ever happened, another has left the small town, never to be heard from again, another has become a nun, and the fourth has been locked away in a psychiatric ward for many years. At the time, news of the visitation brought much wealth and tourism to this dreary Irish town, but as the years went by, and after the Pope refused to officially recognize it as a true Marian Apparition, what had been seen as a miracle began to feel like a curse, and this reporter believes there is more to the story than the townspeople are letting on.
As he seeks out each of the four stories, each begins to take a different and sinister turn. Surrounded by secrecy and confusion, the journalist must decide how much of what he’s uncovering is the truth, how much of it is lies, and much he can trust the four witnesses-one of whom he’s become infatuated with-or for that matter, himself.
What happens when the story gets bigger than anyone ever imagined? It’s a real humdinger.
I’ve got to start by saying I’m not sure what to think of this book. I went in with one frame of mind, but have since changed it. I thought about this book after I finished and discussed it with friends. Yeah, I discussed it.
The main thrust of the story is an American reporter who happens to be in Ireland and is interested in a story about four teenagers who claim to have been visited by the Virgin Mary. I went into the book with the mindset that this doesn’t really happen. But I also mentioned that I changed my mind. The author isn’t trying to force the reader to believe in these sightings, but rather to get the reader to reconsider his or her beliefs. I did.
The book also brought into mind how four people can be a witness to a certain occurrence and each handle it in a different way. We’re all different and we should celebrate that. We should celebrate what makes us that way and how there really are one-size-fits-all…anything.
Now I mentioned earlier that I had a hard time with this book. I did, but maybe that was what the author wanted. To get me to think and wonder. If so, she succeeded.
If you want a book that will make you think, wonder and reconsider, then this might be the book for you.