A young woman banned from a secluded life in a London Cult now has to cope with her inner struggles and rebuild her life in a beautiful Welsh village.
“You have chosen the path of darkness”, is what Tegan is told at the beginning of this novel and we sense the terrible fate awaiting her. Tegan is a 27-year-old woman living in the Last Week Community in a secluded building in London. The members of the Community are obliged to obey their prophet Daniel, the Omniscient. Everything Daniel says is true, even if the facts tell you otherwise. According to Daniel, the only way to live is without interference from the outside world, doing vigil to repent and stay pure. Those that do will be able to enter heaven on the Day of Judgment. Those who do not will be lost from salvation: those await seas of fire in the Domain of the Beast.
Tegan’s mother Sarah used to be a warm and friendly creature who loved to sing. She named her daughter Tegan, Welsh for the loved and cherished one. Nowadays Sarah is a vigilant member of the Community. Tegan is known to sin against the Community’s rules on many occasions but this time she has gone too far: in an act of utter defiance, she has visited a London library (strictly forbidden) and shared a coffee with a male stranger. This is the last straw for Daniel and therefore he decides to punish her with expulsion from the Community. From now on, Tegan will be dead to the people in the Community, among which her parents and the people she grew up with. Tegan has no idea where to go but just before she leaves, her mother secretly slips her an address of her sister Hannah who lives with her husband Ellis near the Welsh village Ty Fynnon in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains.
Will Tegan cope and will she be able to hold herself in the close Welsh society where everyone knows each other and no secrets can be kept hidden? Why does Hannah get irritated with her and why keeps Tegan judging the villagers, without being able to connect to them? Maybe Daniel’s guidelines and teachings are so deeply imprinted that Tegan never will be free. It would take an enormous amount of courage and perseverance to ever be able to reinvent herself and learn to live with the fears inside her that from time to time seem to come out in the open. Most of the villagers try to be friendly, like Hannah and her daughter Cerys. Cerys is a constant disappointment to her elegant mother, being the complete opposite. Cerys tries to reach out to Tegan and show the village that behind Tegan’s display of awkward behaviour is a woman with a kind and shy character, eager to live a life without fear or pain. Will they ever open their hearts for her?
In Mary Grand’s intriguing debut novel we follow Tegan on her path through life and her forced move from London to a Welsh country village. The novel contains past secrets and love but also betrayal, blackmail and disillusion. Mary Grand cunningly takes us by the hand and shows us Tegan’s inner struggles against a background of sloping hills where the majestic red kites nest, the dark woodland and the meadows full of colourful Welsh poppy flowers. On almost every page we feel Mary Grand’s love for her Welsh roots sipping through, that seemingly rough and yet stunning little piece of heaven called Wales. That is why ‘Free to be Tegan’ is not only a fascinating psychological novel, it is also a heartwarming love story dedicated to Wales. It comes as no surprise that this book is the first in what is to be a series of novels set in the beautiful Welsh countryside, the land between the smashing green hills and the dazzling blue sea.
About the Author
Mary Grand is born in Cardiff and has always retained a deep love for her Welsh roots. She worked as a nursery teacher in London and later taught deaf children in Croydon and Hastings. Now she is living on the beautiful Isle of Wight with her husband and cocker spaniel Pepper. Her two grown-up children have already left the family home. ‘Free to Be Tegan’ is the author’s debut novel. The second ‘Hidden Chapters’ (my review) is set on the spectacular Gower Peninsula. Mary Grand has also published two books of short stories ‘Catching the Light’ and ‘Making Changes’.
You find the books on the author’s Amazon page.
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (5 Mar. 2015)|