“Bishop Street” is a heartwarming and redemptive novel that captures the complex relationships between four orphans and their lifetime of challenges. It’s uplifting and with each turn of the page you fall more in love with the characters.
Margaret Gray for the past twenty years has hidden behind a facade of normalcy. She wasn't always rich and famous. At the age of seven her mother abandons her on the steps of the Bishop Street Orphanage with a note pinned to her coat. Here, under the cruel tutelage of Sister Theresa, Maggie develops a powerful bond with her roommates, Elizabeth, Lucy and Randolph. Their close friendship fortifies them against the years of physical abuse, emotional torment, and manipulation that follow.
Now, Maggie is thirty-nine and her nightmares are coming back. Despite a successful writing career and a flawless reputation, she is unable to keep all that she has built from crumbling around her. It’s been twenty years since she’s heard from her friends. Why didn't they answer her letters? Had they survived? Had Sister Theresa been right, or had she manipulated them all with lies, aiming to destroy their friendship, forever?
Sister Theresa is dead and with nothing left to fear, Maggie hires Damon Depre, a private investigator to find her friends, and seek the truth. This starts her down a twisted path that will once again, test her strength of character. Will she find more than just her friends...
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
This is a very emotional read. The book is in a genre that I don't normally read, but the synopsis intrigued me. I am glad that I did read this book, because I LOVED it!
Margaret (Maggie) Gray is a wonderful character. I really liked this lady. She has grit and determination to succeed. She has not had an easy life, but she has worked hard to become a renown and successful author. However, she is haunted by her past and in an attempt to vanquish the demons, she sets on a journey of discovery to find out what happened to her best friends, Elizabeth, Lucy and Randolph by hiring a private investigator, Damon Depre.
I realised from the start that this book would be an extremely emotional read. However, what I didn't expect was what Maggie's journey would stir up in me. I found myself so proud of all of the characters, as their struggles have shaped them into wonderful people.
Elizabeth has a big heart and a loving family, which made me feel very envious of her. Her life has also not been easy, but it has been filled with love and laughter. I love her children, Randall, Meg, James, Sarah and Katie, not to mention her loving husband, William.
Randolph is another wonderful character. He too has worked hard and has become a successful businessman. He has a wicked sense of humour, but he still seems lonely to me. His success isolates him, which made me feel sad. I am glad that Margaret manages to find him, and this allows him to feel relaxed and part of a family again.
Lucy is one of the not so lucky ones. She has had an even tougher life out of all of them, and her story is not an easy thing to read. She is the one that I am most proud of though, as she has had to climb hand over fist to overcome a lot of bad events and an addiction to alcohol.
I was, however, a little disappointed that there was not more in the way of romance between Maggie and Damon in the story. There was a definite spark there, but I suppose mixing business with pleasure wouldn't have been a good idea. I did, however, love Denise, Maggie's secretary and assistant; she keeps Maggie alive and organised. She is very down to earth, but she also has a warmth about her which instantly made me like her.
This story is full of heartache and regret, but it is also full of love, happiness and hope. I really loved getting to know these former orphans of Bishop Street. I have no idea what living in an orphanage is like, but these four people created their own family within an institution when they were abandoned by their own families. They have not had an easy life, but they have survived, and are a lot stronger for it. They may have been ill-treated and damaged by their experiences, but it is their ability to love that remains one of the true miracles of their upbringing. I found myself in tears quite often as their stories were told, but by the time I reached the end of the book, my tears became tears of joy.
Rene D. Schultz has written an extremely touching and emotional story that will stay with me for some time to come. Her writing style is not especially fast paced, but her descriptive ability brought the places and characters to life. The flow is absolutely wonderful. Each scene flows into another with seamless precision. I would definitely consider adding this author to my favourite author's list.
I highly recommend this book as a MUST READ if you love heartwarming contemporary fiction. - Lynn Worton
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I’m divorced and I live in a small community just north of Los Angeles where I raised my two sons. I love to garden, try new recipes, take lots of pictures, and occasionally I enjoy a glass of wine with dear friends. I’ve never jumped out of a plane, climbed Mt. Everest, or seen the Northern Lights of Alaska. But, I have danced in the rain, sent a message in a bottle, and I’ve rode my motorcycle down The Pacific Coast Highway on sunny California days!
After my divorce, I waltzed into the world of online dating. I didn’t find my knight-in-shining armor, but instead in 2008, I wrote a very successful book on my entertaining experiences. My first book “Searching4MrRight.com” was published by a small press and you can find it on Amazon.
My first fiction novel “Bishop Street” is coming out July 2013. This story is about four powerful friendships that begin at Bishop Street Orphanage. It continues with lies and deceit after they leave at eighteen. Then, twenty years later, redemption plays out and ultimately the strength that got them through their childhood becomes the catalyst that binds them back together.
My passion of writing has lead me on the most amazing journey. Now, my focus is on fiction. I thrive on developing strong storylines that showcase today’s contemporary lifestyles. Rags to riches, Robinhood, and surviving the odds, seems to be my one common denominator that showcases my fascinating and diverse characters.