Orla’s Canvas – Book Review

Mary has been a passionate writer for as long as she has been able to spell her own name. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Fairfield University and a Masters degree in Renaissance studies from Trinity College. Fusing both her areas of expertise has enabled her to write great stories which leave people in deep awe. She finds the city of Venice to be her ultimate muse and keeps revisiting it to make more memories and get inspired to write more amazing stories. When she is not creating mind numbingly beautiful stories, she spends her time teaching at the English Department of Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, Connecticut.

The narrator of the story is an eleven year old girl named Orla Gwen Gleason, while the story itself is set in St. Suplice, Louisiana. Her mother is a housekeeper at Mrs. Bellefleur Dubois Castleberry. Following Mrs. Castleberry’s death, a discovery dawns in on Orla’s conscience – her birth father. This discovery leaves her trust in her mother as shattered as a broken glass on a concrete floor. Along with her true paternity comes the revelation of realities of class and race during the civil Rights era.

Mrs. Castleberry had her fair share of secrets, and soon after her death, the Klan finds out about her hidden association with the local Negro minister along with the Archbishop Rummel. The reason for this unlikely association was to form the parochial school. As this discovery comes under the spotlight, all hell breaks loose in St. Suplice. The town which has stayed relatively calm for all of Orla’s life until adolescence seems to break apart in front of her eyes and it becomes difficult for her to witness it at such a tender age. Although the circumstances don’t allow her to keep her peace and act wisely, she still holds her ground firmly.

Louisiana becomes her canvas to paint her miseries into tremendous beauty. Moving and utterly inspiring, Mary has created a character that will remain in the hearts of readers for a very long time.

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