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When a new highway threatens to bypass the town of Rossmore and cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer. But young Father Flynn is most concerned with the fate of St. Ann’s Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have been coming to St. Ann’s for generations to share their dreams and fears, and speak their prayers. Some believe it to be a place of true spiritual power, demanding protection; others think it’s a mere magnet for superstitions, easily sacrificed.
Father Flynn listens to all those caught up in the conflict, as the men and women of Whitethorn Woods must decide between the traditions of the past and the promises of the future.
you know what Melanie said?’ They all looked at me and I felt my cheeks go scarlet. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘I thought you meant every single time he painted the figure nine …’ ‘I did,’ said Caroline. ‘And you were quite right, the only one in this room who did get it right.’ They all started playing with their fingers: ‘Nine, nineteen, twenty-nine …’ Caroline put them out of their misery. ‘Melanie said twenty times, the rest of you all forgot ninety-one, ninety-two, ninety-three, etc. Well
something or other they were doing out there at the moment and she wouldn’t lend support by visiting. Lida was like that, taking stands, concerned about issues, standing up and being counted. Very laudable, admirable even. But it didn’t always make for an easy life. Max was hardly ever there to discuss it with. If I tried he just kept repeating that he was astounded to have a daughter at all, which wasn’t much of a help, and a bit repetitive. After nearly a quarter of a century you’d think he
your hopes up, darling, he’s only stating the obvious. Imagine anyone not liking Italy, or Sergeant Bilko, or Dad’s Army, or skiing! Be sensible, darling. Please!’ Then she met Franklin and like everyone else she was bowled over. He was charming to her. She loved everything that he said. ‘I see where Becca gets her wonderful cheekbones.’ ‘You must be fearfully intelligent to play bridge so well.’ ‘You must let me call you Gabrielle, you’re much too young for me to call you “Mrs King”.’ Now if
analysing its worth, claims and counter-claims. With a deep sigh he wished that the bulldozers had come in overnight and taken the well away. It would have solved a lot of problems. He went to call on his sister-in-law, Kitty. He tried to visit at least once a week, just to show her that she hadn’t been abandoned by the whole family. Only Eddie had left her. Kitty was not in good form. ‘I suppose you’ll want something to eat,’ she said ungraciously. Brian Flynn looked around the untidy kitchen
and hugely irritating smile. ‘Well, sure you do,’ he said raising his glass at me. ‘Sure you do.’ I walked across the square shaking. Zloty came with me to keep me company or to give me courage – I didn’t know which. I had never felt so hostile to a man before. Not ever. So that meant that I had never felt so strongly about a woman either. But I had no idea whether she felt anything remotely similar. Calm, gentle, ladylike Hannah, maybe she thought of me just as a pleasant acquaintance. What a