Everything Fern Cullen knows she's learned from her Mammy -- and none of it's conventional. Taught midwifery at an early age, Fern grows up as Mammy's trusted assistant in a small English village and learns through experience that secrets are prec
Everything Fern Cullen knows she's learned from her Mammy -- and none of it's conventional. Taught midwifery at an early age, Fern grows up as Mammy's trusted assistant in a small English village and learns through experience that secrets are precious, men can't be trusted, hippies are filthy and people should generally mind their own business.
But when one of Mammy's patients allegedly dies from a potion prescribed to induce abortion, the town's people rally against her outdated methods, and Mammy ends up hospitalized, due to a bad fall and a broken heart. Now the county is threatening eviction if Fern can't come up with the overdue rent, and a bunch of hippies and a woman with hoop earrings with a mysterious connection to Mammy seem to be the only people with any answers. As Fern struggles to save her home and Mammy's good name, everything around her begins to transform, and she soon uncovers a legacy spotted with magic.
The Limits of Enchantment is at once a story of two women: one with a deep past and one who finds her history in the other. It is a tale of midwifery, alchemy, magic, truth and identity, from an author with the extraordinary ability to blend literature and fantasy with surprising dexterity.
Some may call her a witch, others might refer to her as a wisewoman, but for those in her village she is someone to turn to in times of need, but also to fear. Fern, her adopted daughter, grows up learning all about herbs and sayings, midwifery and natural remedies. But at the same time is sheltered from the changing atmosphere of the times. No swinging sixties for her.
Joyce is a master story-teller; but while I thoroughly enjoyed this novel it doesn’t really linger the way some others have. I liked the character of Fern, she was so full of knowledge and yet so innocent at the same time. And Mammy Cullen was a character and a half. But for some reason, once I put the book aside to do something else I felt no great compulsion to pick it up again. Of course, as soon as I did I was sucked right back in, but it doesn’t have that something that makes me love a book.
But I suppose in a way the opening tells the reader that the book is better enjoyed in one sitting, although we have lost the talent of Listening, and so may be distracted, and so the story may not work as well :)
There is plenty to make you think; abortion, the role of the outsider in any situation, the nature of reality. But I found myself content to simply experience and enjoy the story rather than ponder any deeper message....Continua