An Undiscovered Country by Michael A. Cumiskey

Lorna Donnelly has been through more trauma than she can be expected to tolerate. She suffered what could amount to sexual assault from Sean. She lost her father at a tender age to a fire bomb. She suffered actual sexual assault from her new stepfather. She cannot find the wherewithal to be with the love of her life. She finds out a disturbing fact about her baby sister. Then as if that is not enough, she finds out about an experience that has been long lost to her memories. 

Set during a time of unrest in Northern Ireland, this story paints a very vivid picture of wat it was like living in fear and discord. The author effectively plunges the reader into the chaos. It is almost surreal how much fear and unrest is caused by the descriptions of occurrences. Michael Cumiskey has done a great job in discussing the issue of child abuse and the roles of adults in advancing it or stopping it. He also successfully shines a light on the deep seated psychological effects that come after. 

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Little Lorna suffered so much. We get to see her grow up from that insecure yet bubbly girl to a young woman with adult concerns. A retrospective analysis reveals that her psychological issues stem from the pre-jimmy era. The author has let the reader into even the most intimate parts of her character thus providing a platform to build a relationship with her. You can clearly see the dents in her personality that have been brought about by the trauma. Then enters Tom into the picture. He is exactly what both the reader and Lorna need at that point in the story. He simply leaves the reader glad. His easy-going personality is well appreciated. 

The writing style is sober. Despite there being light moments, the author never loses sight of the bigger picture he is trying to paint for exploration. The author possesses a wonderful capability with language. His writing is simple yet elegantly mild. This is a short book but it is not a quick read. As a reader, with a plot so laden with emotion, there is need for recovery time in between and after. 

This book needs a brush over. There are times when even Lorna’s name is misspelled. This is quite disconcerting though only momentarily. Further insight into the lives of Lorna’s siblings would have been appreciated. Sure, she is the focus but trauma like that affects people in different ways. The author in this instance only gives brief insights

This is a gripping tale damaging secrets that can be wrongfully contained within the confines of a family. It is aggressively evocative with the reader experiencing a strong urge to step in and protect where the mother should have. Five stars out of five for the plot. Five stars out of five for the character development. Five stars out five for setting the stage.

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