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Ghost Moth

289 pages4 hours


During the summer of 1969, Northern Ireland, found itself on the brink of civil war as Irish Catholic Republicans and Protestant Loyalists clashed violently in what has become known as “The Troubles.” While Forbes doesn’t elaborate on the political dimension of this historically significant conflict, she beautifully renders the emotional and psychic trauma felt by both children and adults on the periphery of the violence.

Like bestselling novelists Ann-Marie MacDonald and Tana French, Forbes is also an actress who brings finely honed dramatic skills to her fiction. In this masterful debut, Forbes draws on those talents as well as her early memories of Belfast and background as a literary critic to explore the insidious nature of memory and secrets, the power of forgiveness, the ravages of illness, and the preciousness of the “here and now.”

Beginning with the title, which comes from a fable Katherine passes down to her children about the souls of the dead taking the form of ghost moths just waiting to be caught, this novel masterfully couples poetic descriptions with real-world psychological tension. Shifting in time between 1949 and 1969, Forbes’ characters experience love in all its guises: the unrequited, the illicit, the maternal, the unconditional.

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