The Bird Menders

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 review
A writer, weaving fantasies about the daughter she relinquished for adoption thirty-one years ago, faces a starkly different reality when the young woman suddenly re-enters her life – an event that re-opens old wounds for them both but launches them, and several others, on an unexpected journey of emotional risk-taking, healing and love. Set in England, Australia and southern Italy.
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About Marian McCain

Marian Van Eyk McCain is primarily a writer of non-fiction. She is the author of 'Transformation through Menopause' (Bergin & Garvey 1991), written for women who seek a deep understanding of their menopause process, 'Elderwoman: Reap the wisdom, feel the power, embrace the joy' (Findhorn Press, 2002), an inspirational 'trail guide' for the woman’s third age journey, and 'The Lilypad List: 7 steps to the simple life' (Findhorn Press, 2004), a primer for anyone who wants to live more simply and lightly on the planet.
In 2010, Marian edited 'GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness' (O Books), an anthology of writings by thirty contributors who all believe that a deep love of the Earth is necessary if we are to survive as a species and to live in a peaceful, sustainable world. Her latest non-fiction book, due for publication in May, 2011, also by O Books, is 'Downshifting Made Easy: How to plan your planet-friendly future.'
She has also written several works of fiction.
Marian’s special interests are: wellness – both personal and planetary – green spirituality, green lifestyles, simple living and conscious ageing. She is a retired psychotherapist and wellness educator and lives in the UK, where she is co-editor of the 'GreenSpirit Journal,' Editor of the ‘Elderwoman Newsletter’ and a columnist for 'Crone' Magazine (US)

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Reviews of The Bird Menders by Marian McCain

Bill Furlow reviewed on Feb. 21, 2011

More than “chick lit,” this first-time novel by a retired psychotherapist is the story of a woman who gave up her newborn daughter for adoption, then is reunited with her three decades later.

Along with all the attendant joy and awkwardness – though perhaps not the anger – you would imagine, both the mother and her late-20s daughter have secrets they don’t want to share with the other. Marsha is a successful mystery writer who, on a working vacation to Italy, begins writing scenes involving her idealized adult daughter. In truth, she knows nothing about her, but she’s reached that time in her life when she would give anything to meet the girl who was the product of a brief fling with a charming Italian lover.

Benny, the daughter, has had a seemingly happy childhood scarred by events nearly no one else knows about. Although she initiates the reunion, her standoffishness with her biological mother cannot help but hurt Marsha, who nonetheless tries to be content merely with Benny’s presence.

The novel’s setting in an Italian village (interspersed with trips to Marsha’s London home and flashbacks to Benny’s childhood in Australia) is well drawn and makes the reader envy the characters who spend their summers attending a language school there. The book’s title is a literal representation of one of Benny’s activities and a metaphorical description of what’s going on with the women and their supportive friends.

Although this is Marian Van Eyk McCain’s first novel, she has written several non-fiction books, which undoubtedly enabled her to develop the tools of an author. The book’s structure is not simple, with the voice alternating among the women and their male friend Frank and the time and location following the speaker. But McCain pulls it off to create an interesting character study and a compelling story of a different kind of love.

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(reviewed 39 days after purchase)

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