In 1949 Katherine is starring in a local Belfast production of Carmen and hoping for a career on the stage. She’s engaged to one man, in love with another. Cut to 1969. Katherine has married her fiancé and has four children. Seemingly content with domestic life, she hasn’t sung in years. What happened? Like the elusive Ghost Moth (Bellevue, $14.95), Katherine’s passion is still in the air; or, in Irish actress Michéle Forbes’s deftly constructed first novel, still lurking just below the surface—along with the simmering sectarian tensions already beginning to claim lives. Using two intertwining time lines, the narrative chronicles Katherine’s passage from one role to the next as she replaces dreams with an enduring love. Forbes has an impeccable sense of pacing, building scenes from small details and evoking larger themes from a network of recurring images. While writing about life’s dramas, Forbes refuses to overdramatize her material—making the book’s revelations all the more powerful for that.
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