Merrimon Book Reviews

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The Last Will of Moira Leahy
The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Theresa Walsh
by Theresa Walsh

Loss, Quest and the Mystery of Language
Every November, language specialist Maeve Leahy remembers her twin, the twin she lost 9 year ago.  This year, she gives into the impulse to escape the memory by going to an auction house.  There she discovers a Javanese knife, a keris, which reminds her of one lost in the past.  Dreams begin to intrude upon her daily life.  In an effort to find out more about the mysterious relic, Maeve journey to Rome in search of a master to tell her more of its origins.  Mysterious notes nailed to her door appear seemingly out of nowhere.  Danger threatens her quest and yet the relic seems to have a power to impel her to seek its mystery.  What will she discover at the end of her quest?  Whatever happened to Moira Leahy?

THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY explores the dynamics of loss and return in an inner and physical journey.  Combining elements of suspense with emotion and a twist of the supernatural, Theresa Walsh pens a fast-paced imaginative tale.  THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY alternates between a narrative of the present, the quest, and the past history of the twins Moira and Maeve to the events which lead to the loss of Moira.  Theresa Walsh breaks down the novel into different segments, each designated by stages of Moira's last will.  Theresa Walsh clearly designates each change.  Although mystical supernatural events guide the action within the novel, the prose itself does not have a mystical, poetic quality.  A suspenseful atmosphere builds as the two narratives converge.  The force within the novel builds, however, from the emotional truths Maeve confronts on the inward part of her journey.  
Although this novel shares some elements with the romance genre, particularly in its focus on emotional truths, the exploration of family dynamics, and her relationship with Noel Ryan,  the novel itself differs from both traditional romance and suspense.  Therein lies its power.  The build-up to the final images gains more effect as reader expectations alternate between competing genre expectations.  Theresa Walsh avoids the pitfalls of cliches common in twin stories in an ending that will haunt and move readers.

In her debut novel, Theresa Walsh talent for storytelling and imagery is clearly evident.  Some of the intriguing thematic elements, such as the notion of lost languages, would benefit from more exploration and integration throughout the novel.  Nevertheless, THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY is a very good choice for romance and suspense fans looking for a balance between light entertainment reading and a novel that expands beyond strict genre expectations with inventiveness.  Theresa Walsh creates a wonderful ending that manages to keep the supernatural mystery in the midst of the resolution.   Nicely done!

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books (October 13, 2009)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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