An Important Story about Coping with Adversity
At its most obvious, ‘Montpelier Tomorrow’ is about a family’s struggle with one of their own being diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and the demanding caregiving and improvised coping that ensues. Even with all the publicity this incurable progressive disorder has recently received, this book’s ability to reach out might have been limited in its appeal to those who had specific experience of ALS or some other chronic neurological condition such as MS. However, it has so much more to offer than a discourse on the ravages of ALS. Written from the heart with intelligence and honesty, a touch of the everyday on almost every page, wit tempering the harshness of the subject, vulnerability and frustration given as much attention as the call to strength and sacrifice; this very readable book speaks to the reality and challenges of sustaining relationships with family and friends despite–to borrow a concept from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath–life’s jerks.
Through lithe storytelling Ms. MacDonald’s narrative tackles the feelings and behavior that rise out of the sense of powerlessness illness can evoke, as well as conflicts that may never have a chance for complete resolution. It addresses the material, emotional and even conscionable resources that affect each one’s ability to cope with adversity–how some grit their teeth and do things that have to be done and others avoid the nitty-gritty of the situation. No judging going on, though. By her own admission (in an interview with the Literary Fiction Book Review), Ms. MacDonald says she writes to be a “storyteller not a preacher” and throughout the book she remains true to that objective. She handles all aspects of the story without pretension or sentimentality and offers a compellingly sincere personal perspective.
The book’s narrator, Colleen, mother-in-law of the ALS sufferer, is independent, forthright, loyal and forgiving. For anyone who has ever had to relinquish their own routine or goals as a caregiver, she is relieving to identify with because she doesn’t play the martyr or mask her grief, desire and irritation, or hide her human frailties from others and herself. However, she is honorable and strives to love unconditionally and pragmatically, to give herself over to caring for and understanding her daughter, sons, son-in-law, grandchildren, students and even strangers such as a young unwed mother, while realizing she has to honor her own needs and forge ahead with fulfilling them in whatever way is still viable.
The ending offers the unexpected in terms of what is about to be lost: the end of life looming for us all at every moment, but, also, the possibilities for how it will go on.
I highly recommend Montpelier Tomorrow, which is available in Paperback and Kindle editions.
Announcement: I have created a 2015 Calendar, Of Two Artists. It will be available very soon. This is a standard size calendar more reasonably priced than the one I did last year and would make a very affordable gift to others or yourself!
Two artists, JM DiGiacomo (mother) and DM Denton (daughter), take your through the year with their naturalistic, impressionistic and even playful artwork. D M Denton, novelist and poet, offers sublime reflections on each month.
If you are interested in being notified of its availability, please click here to contact me. At the same time, let me know if you are interested in being notified of the release date of the sequel to A House Near Luccoli: To A Strange Somewhere Fled. I just received promising news that it should be available early in 2015.
Here is an excerpt from a pre-publication review by Deborah Bennison of Bennison Books of To A Strange Somewhere Fled:
In this beautifully realized sequel to A House Near Luccoli, the author once again effortlessly blends the vividly imagined fictional character Donatella with real-life historical figures and settings to create a world that is as beguiling as it is believable.
We are invited to follow Donatella’s progress as she faces a very different future from the one she had begun to imagine for herself – without the quixotic musical genius who reawakened her passions and zest for life, the 17th century Italian composer, Alessandro Stradella.
This is a subtle, understated exploration of love and lost possibility and there are no easy answers or conventional happy endings … Donatella, her heart awoken and then broken, remains ‘another man’s secret’. She can perhaps reveal herself again, but surrender has many guises.
Scrupulously researched and historically accurate, the novel immerses the reader in its historical period. That we can meet Purcell within these pages and find him totally believable as a living, breathing human being is a mark of the author’s imaginative powers and literary skill. There are, appropriately enough, no false notes to be found.
If you haven’t read A House Near Luccoli yet, there is still time before the release of its sequel. It’s available in Paperback (now 12% off on Amazon), Kindle, NOOK Book, and audio editions. If you’re interested in a signed copy, please contact me as that can certainly be arranged.
And please excuse one more note of self-promotion: a reminder that A Friendship with Flowers is now available in Kindle edition.
As always, thanks for your interest and support. Sharing my passion for writing, art and however creativity wishes to express itself through me continues to be a blessing whether it reaches out to one or many.
©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.