Reviewed by Sara Hodon
The Last Will of Moira Leahy
by Therese Walsh
Shaye Areheart Books
Hardcover: 304 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0307461575, October 13, 2009
Every so often a book comes along that is so unique and compelling, the reader needs to put it down after each chapter or so just to absorb and savor the words the author has used. The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh is that kind of book.
On the surface, the storyline doesn’t strike the reader as something all that special—first-time author Walsh explores the deep and powerful bond between twin sisters, and in this case, a tragic accident that impacts their lives forever—but her lyrical, almost sensual writing style truly makes this work memorable.
As children, twin sisters Moira and Maeve Leahy share everything, including a crush on one of their classmates. A carefully planned act of betrayal changes this forever, altering the course of both sisters’ lives. Later, Maeve starts having vivid whose origins can undoubtedly be traced back to that fateful night. When she comes across a keris, a rare Indonesian weapon, the resemblance to one she’d been given by their grandfather and later lost in a lake seems to be more than pure coincidence—the handcrafted dagger seems to be some kind of message from her twin. Maeve must travel halfway around the world from her secure home in upstate New York and her job as a languages professor at a small college to romantic Italy to track down the giver of this keris.
Walsh allows the reader to peel away the various layers of this book, not unlike a much anticipated an/d highly treasured gift. I can honestly say that I’ve never had the experience of actually feeling as though this was happening as I read, as if there was much more left to discover within this story if I kept reading and peeling away more layers. Her prose is elegant, her plot simple yet complicated, and the twists and turns within the story keep the reader highly engaged as the events unfold, with a very unexpected ending.
It’s not often that a book this rare and special comes along, and it makes me very curious to see what Therese Walsh could possibly craft next. The Last Will of Moira Leahy should be read on a lazy afternoon, or better yet, under a blanket in front of a roaring fire so it can be properly savored, like a favorite dessert or vintage wine.
About the reviewer: Sara Hodon’s work has appeared in History, Young Money, WritersWeekly.com, and The Valley: Lebanon Valley College’s Magazine, among others. She is also the “Date and Relate” columnist for Online Dating Magazine (www.onlinedatingmagazine.com). Read more about her trials and triumphs in the writing life on her blog, http://adventuresinthewritinglife.blogspot.com.