Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Girl in the Photograph by Gabrielle Donnelly *Review*

To meet Allegra O'Riordan of Chicago, you'd think she was like anyone else- a modern single woman in her thirties; a more or less lapsed Catholic; more or less gainfully employed; urban, independent, irreverent, and smart. But there's a hole in her life, and it doesn't really show until, going through her late father's effects, she comes upon a photograph of her mother. Now, her mother was a prim, unsmiling woman who died when she was three. But this is something- someone- else, a laughing, beautiful, sexy girl, who inscribed the picture to someone Allegra's never heard of.
Astonished and intrigued, she returns to her hometown of Los Angeles to find out more about this mother of hers, only to be met with smiles and evasions and a definite sense that people are keeping something from her- and of course, that
only makes her more determined to find out what it is, even though she's beginning to suspect she's not going to like it one little bit...
Yes, Allegra O'Riordan sets off for Los Angeles to find out more about the mother she never knew. But what Aleegra doesn't count on is that nobody wants to talk about Theresa Higgins O' Riordan.
Certainly not her Uncle John and Aunt Katherine. Every time Allegra brings up the subject of her mother, Katherine clams up- not very talkative, is she- and herUncle John changes the subject. Allegra knows there's a story there somewhere and she's determined to find it.
With the help of a young, hot neighbor, Scott, and her cousin Jimmy they start to piece together a few clues but Allegra is frustrated to the point of giving up when she asks a kindly old priest at a family birthday party if he remembers Theresa Higgins and watches him turn cold at the sound of her mother's name.
"No one," said Father Carroll, "in the diocese of Los Angeles will forget
Theresa Higgins."

"A sin," said the priest, "is a sin."
Allegra shivers in the sunshine of the birthday party, and as the priest shuffles off she knows the answer she seeks might change her life forever. 3/5 stars