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Claire needs a heart, Laura needs brains, and Imelda … ahh, Imelda needs courage.
The three sisters are stuck in Ciltubber, in Ireland’s County Cork, trapped by their domineering mother Dympna’s expectations.
Claire has the good career which allows Dympna to boast endlessly to her coterie, the Biddy Brigade, but she has little else. She lives a lonely pot-noodle life.
Likewise, Laura adds to Dympna’s boasting arsenal. She is engaged to the son of the best family in town. No matter that this son is Dreary Derek, he who kisses like an over-enthusiastic Labrador and thinks that spontaneity needs to be carefully planned.
And Imelda was groomed to be the good girl. The one who lets her mother boast about her steadiness and loyalty. The one who’ll have no dreams nor aspirations of her own, but will work in her parents’ business and look after them in their old age.
Then some strangers arrive to set up an eco-village. According to Dympna “It’s a new-age cult. Yes, cult, that’s the only proper word. God knows what they’ll be getting up to there. Naked dancing, no doubt, and sacrificing hens, and … and all sorts. They’re heathens the lot of them. Not a Mass-goer to be seen among them. Something Should Be Done.”
Something was done. Lots of somethings. But not the things Dympna had intended.
Maybe these things could lead to Imelda, Laura and Claire finding their courage, brains and heart, so they can claim a life that’s truly their own.
This warm and witty novel explores the timeless themes of family roles, conditional vs unconditional love, and what the heck we’re really supposed to be doing with our lives.