Friday, October 30, 2015

The Care of Goats and Ghosts: A Maggie McGill Mystery by Sharon Burch Toner

The Care of Goats and Ghosts: A Maggie McGill Mystery by Sharon Burch Toner
ISBN: 978-1517042233
Published by: CreateSpace
Published: Sept 20, 2015
Trade paperback, 278 pages

Book Description:

As a psychotherapist, Maggie McGill often had dealt with the ghosts of past deeds and past influencers on her clients, such as a domineering mother or an abusive father. She’d seen the actions of these long gone people haunt her clients and their issues. Now in Ireland, she wonders if there are other types of ghosts, as well. Maggie and daughter, Allie, explore their family history and find so much more. The monastery island, peaceful and green, waits for the pure of heart to discover its secrets. Maggie and Allie discover beauty, peace and, of all things, goats! It is idyllic until . . . Maggie must face a deep fear. She and Allie confront a mystery that deepens into even greater dangers.

My Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

I had the honor to review yet another of Sharon Burch Toner's very worthy mysteries in the Maggie McGill series. And as in her previous books of which there are 7, the reader is treated to a satisfying tale well told. The author has an elegance of writing that I enjoy. Her stories are clean, interesting and fast-paced. There is enough excitement and danger to keep readers engaged.

In their latest adventure the mother-daughter team of Maggie and Allie McGill travel to Ireland in search of their roots to see if a family legend about an Irish ancestor with a castle are true. But they find so much more. Along the way they make new friends, meet up with old ones, encounter foes, and visit a mysterious island that is at the heart of the story.  "There's this castle, Ballybeoc in the west of Ireland, and just across a wee bit of sea is an island, they call it Inish Beoc, where there once was a grand monastery, where ancient monks had collected a great treasure."

Pervading this book as in all the others is the warm, close relationship between Maggie and Allie. "Allie gave her mother a loving smile. Even in the tough times…..Allie never doubted Maggie's love or her own for her mother. It was as if on a subliminal level, they had negotiated an unspoken contract to eliminate any power struggle and be together with equal power."

The charming soft Irish lilt was ever present as one would expect of a book set in Ireland as the locals talk about the "wee folk" and such. Phrases like " sure and there's no great hurry" or "sure and I should have known it" or any sentence prefaced with "sure" adds to the authentic voice. And what better Irish names than Mathair, Eamon, Liam, Darragh, Neala. Not to be dismissed are those tiny Irish goats who save the day when danger threatens.

This is an ambitious work as it chronicles events that took place in the 800 's, a love story in the 1800's, another one during the First World War, tying them convincingly to the present, with a satisfying conclusion to the story.

This is a novel that deals not only with mysteries but also with family dynamics, sadness, joy, plus poignant love stories. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Note: This book is rated G.
Disclosure: Thanks to Sharon Burch Toner for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the author: 

Sharon Birch Toner's Irish grandmother gave her a lifelong appreciation for a story well told. She pursued a career as a psychotherapist for nearly twenty years before she turned to writing as her ideal occupation. She lives in California with her two feline roommates.

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