The Last Will of Moira Leahy is an enthralling tale by debut author Therese Walsh. I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. I also have to mention the cover which I think is extraordinarily beautiful. This novel has many elements ranging from tragedy, mystery, a bit of the paranormal, romance and family relationships. It’s guaranteed to keep you turning those pages to learn what is at the heart of this story.
This novel is about twins, Maeve and Moira, and the very special bond they share right down to a special language between the two as children. It is told by twenty-five year old Maeve in the present day and her twin Moira in the flashbacks to the past. The girls have always been extremely close but as they emerge as teenagers Moira is finding herself falling behind in Maeve’s shadow. Maeve is the popular one, the one who plays the sax beautifully and is considered a prodigy. Moira is not quite as outgoing; playing the piano and wishing for more of what Maeve has. Moira begins to block Maeve from her thoughts and it’s this pulling away that ultimately leads to the tragedy of Maeve losing her twin.
Fast forward nine years later and Maeve is still deeply troubled by the loss of her twin and is kind of just making it through her life trying to deal with nightmares and sleepless nights. She is a professor of languages at a small college and her life revolves around her work. Mostly she keeps to herself other than living with her childhood friend Kit; she seems terrified to let anyone close to her anymore. Maeve hasn’t been back to the family home since the tragedy and while she has a relationship with her father, she and her mother really don’t speak. Her mother blames her for what happened to Moira.
One evening Maeve attends an auction and discovers a keris which is a Javenese dagger. It reminds her of one that she and Moira had when they were young kids and she has to have it. After returning home with the keris , things start to happen. A book is nailed to Maeve’s door at work, she is receiving strange notes and finally a note comes inviting her to go to Rome. Crazy as it may seem Maeve’s father convinces her to go and discover what the mystery is behind the keris. The keris seems to open the door to the past and to many of the emotional feelings that Maeve has kept buried throughout the years. Through twists and turns and many realizations on Maeve’s part this keris brings her closer to her sister and to an understanding of what happened all those years ago.
This story is told in the present by Maeve as she is at twenty-five years old and in the past by Moira as the girls were at sixteen. I found this method of writing the novel very interesting and it made it more suspenseful for me as you were continually kept in the dark as to what really happened in the past. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat by the end of the book as I was finally learning all the secrets of Maeve and Moira’s past. There is even a touch of romance thrown in as Maeve finally learns to open herself up to chance a little; to learn to risk her feelings a bit in order to move on with her life.
This novel weaves the past with the present and will keep you wondering throughout. The writing is wonderful and flows smoothly throughout. The characters are engaging. It’s impossible not to like both the twins. There isn’t a good twin and a bad twin; just some teenage angst that unfortunately leads to no good. Maeve is a great character and you find yourself rooting for her. You want her to be able to heal from the past and to move on and be able to be whole herself again without that all present half that’s missing in Moira.
The Last Will of Moira Leahy is a brilliant debut novel that I think will really appeal to people. It’s a deep look into the emotional bonds of twins and the power of healing through facing the past and your emotions. The Last Will of Moira Leahy released on October 13, 2009 and you can purchase your copy here in the US and here in Canada. Be sure to visit Therese Walsh’s website as well!
—to Jodi from WOW! Women on Writing for my review copy of The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh