Immortelle - by Catherine McCarthy
Updated: Jan 7
“That night, my belly full of apple pie, I made room to devour a portion of the book loaned to me by the reverend.”
“The afternoon sky had seen the end of the downpour and the sky blushed pink, embarrassed by her outburst.”
It’s with beautifully poetic prose like the examples above that Catherine McCarthy weaves her enigmatic insight to ensnare all of her reader’s senses, and commit them with bursting hearts to her prose, wherever it will lead. That she does so with seeming ease is not only a credit to her writing, but also to her commitment to her craft. Here, lusciously presented, Catherine's tale of a mother’s loss, her grief, and the way she comes to terms with it hits all the right notes, transports the reader into an all too plausable past, and we can only sit back and enjoy the ride, marvelling at the sights as they pass us by.
Catherine employs anthropomorphism to the weather and surrounding countryside to dazzling effect, plays with language like a cat with a ball of string, lures the reader into her world with well placed glimpses of familiar landscapes and a smattering of her native language -Welsh, and ties it all up with a building sense of dread and the paranormal.
The effect is spellbinding. It’s entertainment, pure and simple, a fest for the senses and intellect.
Catherine writes novellas and short stories that demand to be devoured, yet which are peppered with so many wonderful flashes of sensual description, you find yourself having to stop to shake your head of the spell, and appreciate what she just did to you. My two examples above are perfect examples of the phenomenon, remarkable in that they share the same page, yet burn brightly into the memory as if they were stand alone moments of genius scattered throughout the book - and these two examples are not alone by any means. Turn the page and the next one will be waiting to pounce on your senses all over again.
The history and detail that go into the sections around the MC’s pottery and her Immortelles (read the book to find out what they are) make for fascinating, educated reading. Catherine sprinkles facts and research into her books which makes them all the more informative - and to this reader – enthralling.
That lingering sense of wanting the spell to never end is present here. It was actually with regret that I realized the story was winding to a close. All too soon, I was reading the author information page and wondering where the time had gone, already regretting that my time in her world had come to an end.
Summarizing a McCarthy book will probably always invoke my own sense of Imposter Syndrome, given that here we are looking at an author at the top of their game, yet the circle must be closed, the cycle complete, the reader gives back to the author their feelings and impressions on the work of art, and we can only hope that feedback inspires the author to continue to produce work we can drown in all over again.
Immortelle is captivating, infused with magic and horror and grief. It is written in an unforgettably poetic and calming voice that is way-too easy to read. Imortelle is unputdownable, intelligently written, and is a tribute to the ever growing and refined writing that has become Catherine’s trademark.
It was a pleasure, Catherine, once again, being transported to Wales, and to have spent time there in your company.
5 out of 5 ⭐ ‘s, and we can only hope the magic continues.
You can buy Immortelle by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.
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