It’s the summer of 1981. Newly widowed Bessie Halstone is fleeing Belfast with her young son, Herkie. She’s wrongly suspected of pocketing £10,000, the loot from a heist carried out by Packie, her late (and unmourned) husband.
Bessie has plans. She longs to make a fresh start. But first she must reach the safety of her sister’s home, in County Sligo, to borrow money for the trip.
She doesn’t make it. Car trouble forces her to sojourn in Tailorstown, a sleepy rural community. Her plans are put on hold as she decides to lay low for a while.
She’ll need cash. She finds work as a housekeeper for the handsome but mysterious parish priest.
In the meantime, Lorcan Strong, an artist and a native of Tailorstown, is summoned home. With reluctance, he returns to the place where he feels almost a stranger, a town he has long outgrown.
A chance meeting with young Herkie Halstone leads Lorcan into the world of the disenchanted Bessie — and into a grave danger that has pursued them both from Belfast.
The Disenchanted Widow is an unforgettable peek into small-town life in Ireland’s recent past. It’s a glorious successor to McKenna’s first Tailorstown novel, The Misremembered Man.