True to Herself
by Barbara M. Webb
Genre: Mystery & Suspense/Psychological/Romance
When Moira Capaldi finds her husband of ten years in their bed with another woman, she takes the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream—leave her teaching job in Sydney and return to small town English life to pursue a career as an artist.
It’s easier said than done.
After a short holiday to clear her head, Moira resigns from her teaching position, files for divorce and heads for the UK.
I don’t fault Moira for leaving, I just didn’t care for all the effort she took in avoiding Guido Capaldi. She’d done nothing wrong, and I felt a face-to-face confrontation was called for.
Of course, I didn’t know the whole story yet.
The mind-numbing, time-consuming bureaucracy of re-establishing her English citizenship is a piece of cake compared Moira’s struggles with herself.
Extreme changes in her finances, living arrangements… and the weather cause Moira to second-guess her decision to strike out on her own.
She begins to settle into an easy peace, slowed at times by her interactions with her growing network of acquaintances… and a surprise supernatural element.
Three of Moira’s acquaintances are women experiencing their own personal dramas.
Zara is a gallery owner who gives Moira her first job. She appears to run hot and cold, is always concerned about money, and is too protective and forgiving of a frequent rude and abrasive customer to the gallery.
Felicity is a trip. She’s a successful, well-known—but not big name—artist who’s forsaken motherhood for the sake of her art career in a male-dominated field. And her marriage is falling apart.
Teacher and former dancer, Scarlett, is Moira’s closest confidante. And she’s in counseling because her marriage is falling apart.
There’s also two men—Mike and Tony–who enter Moira’s life. She connects with them on different levels and both leave her puzzled for different reasons.
True to Herself is an engaging read. The situations aren’t unique or uncommon but watching Moira Capaldi and her supporting cast tackle the emotional issues of life in their own way held my interest and kept me turning pages. I wouldn’t trade places with any of them though and didn’t always agree with their decisions… but I understood.
Moira reveals what drove her hasty exit from Sydney, as well as her behavior in her marriage. A short time later, a family emergency requires a return down under. Many long-held issues are laid to rest for Moira during the trip, but before she can leave the country, she suffers a vicious attack.
Despite her personal humiliation and wounded dignity, the attack seems to push Moira forward in high gear, making her more aggressive and decisive.
It would appear other characters moved forward as well… with some interesting couplings.
While I can appreciate characters/stories continuing on past a book’s end, some things felt unresolved to me.
- Moira mentioned “being the eldest” but no mention of siblings was made again, and I thought there would have at least been contact during the family emergency.
- – the attack on Moira was violent and malicious, but there was only mention of a restraining order, with no follow-up.
- The wedding engagement! Who? What? How? WHY?
- – the situations of Scarlett, Felicity, and Zara were messy and unconventional, and I felt no ‘closure’ for any of them…especially Zara.
- – the supernatural events were easily explained but confusing as they were supposedly all tied to the cottage itself and didn’t feel all-encompassing.
- – Moira’s romantic interests… feels like Choose Your Own Adventure.
Like I said, some things felt unresolved TO ME, however, my issues don’t keep True to Herself from being an enjoyable read, and I do recommend it.
The year is 1985. The first British mobile phone call has been made, and the first debate in the House of Lords has been televised.
What brings four women together in West Gidding a village near London? Scarlett Hughes is a sexy, dark-haired teacher who was a Bluebell dancer in Paris in her youth; Zara James, an eccentric art gallery owner, who escaped from what was known as Yugoslavia, harbours a secret; Felicity Green, a talented water colourist, refuses to have children in order to carve out a place for herself in a male-dominated art world; and then there is Moira Capaldi, formerly an international air hostess, who comes all the way from Sydney, Australia.
Resigning from an established career in education, vacating her marital Sydney apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean and abandoning her wayward husband, Guido, Moira Capaldi arrives in West Gidding to follow her passion for art and develop her painting skills.
Instead, the neatly devised plans are disrupted when romance unexpectedly seeks her out on the Greek island of Leros, and Australia lures her back for a short visit with devastating consequences.
Does Moira need to address the demons of her past before she can embrace any happiness in the present?