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A Swift Pure Cry    by Siobhan Dowd order for
Swift Pure Cry
by Siobhan Dowd
Order:  USA  Can
David Fickling Books, 2008 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

In 1984 Ireland, fifteen-year-old Shell Talent's life is difficult. When her mother dies Shell is left to care for her young siblings. Her dad quits his job and turns to religion and alcohol to cope with his loss.

Shell secretly dresses in her mother's pink satin dress to hold onto her memories. To escape their poverty and her father's pathetic drinking, she spends much of her time lost in dreams about religion and the future. The family's only income is money skimmed from the donations her dad solicits for the church.

Shell seeks love from her childhood friend Declan and friendship from a young priest who has recently been assigned to the church. Going with Declan, even though they meet secretly, causes her to lose her only girl friend. Her friendship with the priest, although platonic, stirs gossip in the small Irish village.

Declan's future is in America. After he leaves to pursue his dream, Shell's life is even more complicated because she is carrying his child. She refuses to admit her pregnancy even to herself. Her life takes a turn that will impact the village and all those who know her.

A Swift Pure Cry is Dowd's first novel for which she was named a Publisher's Weekly Flying Start Author. Her other novels include The London Eye Mystery and Bog Child. All of her books are special. She passed away in August of 2007 from breast cancer.

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