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Breeda Looney Steps Forth
Oliver Sands, author

Breeda Looney tells herself she's happy with her simple life in a remote Irish fishing village.

Sure, there are days she talks to no one but the cat, her panic attacks have become public spectacles, and crabby Aunt Nora considers her a total lost cause...

But Breeda is about to stumble upon an old family secret never meant to see the light of day: her beloved father – said to have died when Breeda was a child – might actually still be alive.

To find her father Breeda will be forced to rake up the family dirt, unearthing a bombshell that could spell the end of her sheltered life in the village.

And as the price of the truth dawns on her, Breeda will begin to wonder ... just who exactly is this man she's about to bring back from the grave...?

Heartfelt, deeply moving and at times darkly funny, this debut fiction from Ireland follows one woman's quest to find her truth and, ultimately, her place in the world. With a cast of colorful characters, and brimming with surprisingly tender moments, Breeda Looney will stay in your heart long after the final pages...

Irish writer Sands debuts with an enjoyable, bittersweet account of a woman’s grief and longing to understand her family history. On Breeda Looney’s 37th birthday, she’s drunk and reeling in the street, grieving over her mother, Margaret, who recently died. Thoughts of an impending lunch date with her meddlesome Aunt Nora aren’t helping: “tomorrow’s lunch would likely involve a lecture on Breeda’s many shortcomings, served with a side of hand-wringing, and a generous dollop of Catholic guilt,” Sands notes. Breeda’s grief triggers her depression and anxiety, while Nora, in chapters from her point of view, worries about Breeda tarnishing Margaret’s memory. As Breeda looks through old family pictures, she notes that none exist of her father, Malachy. When Breeda was 12, she was told he’d drowned during a drunken night swim. But after Breeda stumbles upon an 18th birthday card addressed to her from Malachy, she confronts Nora the next morning, who tells her to “leave the past in the past.” Breeda sets out to uncover the truth about Malachy, unaware that doing so will expose more, unexpected family secrets. Sands does an excellent job at using nuance to delve into the denser themes of mental health and grief, and his lyrical prose consistently impresses. Tense and affecting, this is a worthy page-turner. (Self-published)