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Trisha FitzGerad- Petri
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Ireland, west coast.
In a moment of madness, Megan Barry, determined to escape her dismal fishing village life, sets sail in her boss's thirty-two foot sloop, naively thinking anyone can sail. Away on holidays with Helen Featherstone (another bone of contention) at the time, and fed up with her lavish demands, Connor leaps at the chance to return home when he hears his yacht has been stolen.
Meanwhile, after a horrific week lost at sea, Megan is finally washed ashore on a small island in the Celtic Sea where she stumbles upon an illicit poteen-making still, a discovery she believes could get her into far more trouble than she's already in.
Back in ScullymÃ³r, a terrible suspicion begins to form in Connor's mind - a suspicion consolidated by a series of strange events. While not wanting to report the theft, he secretly fears for his harebrained housekeeper's safety. Borrowing an ancient fishing boat with an dodgy engine he decides to take the matter into his own hands . . .
Cool Atlantic waters swirled around her bare feet. The ocean swell, barely perceptible within the sheltered inlet, rose and fell against the slick wooden pilings. Meg shuddered as an icy current suddenly snaked about her calves, a sharp contrast to milder Gulf Stream coastal temperatures. Further along, on the pontoon at the end of the short pier, the yacht strained to go with the tide. The ropes groaned in protest every time the ocean sucked greedily at the hull.
From where she sat, the plump straw-haired woman could see the smooth slope of manicured lawn sweep up towards the house standing like a brooding sentinel on the crest of a small incline. Half hidden by huge banks of flowering rhododendron, the building appeared to reprimand her for those few stolen moments of respite, and feeling duly admonished, she lifted her legs up onto the warm wooden surface and began to dry off the salty wetness with the sleeve of her jumper. In another hour the conger eel would be back from the city, her beady eyes searching the nooks and crannies for any microscopic particles of dust Meg might have inadvertently overlooked.
The conger eel. Pulling the apron strings tightly about her, she chuckled. The similitude had come to her one day when Helen Featherstone had slithered out of the darkness of the back hallway and caught Meg dreamily perusing the dramatic seascape, which rolled across a framed canvas hanging in the stairwell. Fixing the domestic help with a withering look, the would-be lady of the manor had dared her to dally one instant longer, a challenge the weaker of the two knew wasnâ€™t worth facing. Instantly resuming her menial duties, Meg cursed herself more than the other woman, wishing she had enough guts to fling the dusting rag into Featherstoneâ€™s smarmy mug. Yet, as always, common sense prevailed. Jobs were hard to find in the small south-west coastal community, the men living from the sea, and the women from the men. Not professionally, of course, heaven forbid! Security lay in marriage (a myth most young girls blissfully relied on), and those who failed to pull a husband onto land and come forth with a shoal of offspring, were forced to seek employment in the local fish factory, doomed to while away their working lives pulling the viscous entrails out of mackerel. Faced with this choice, the dumpy blonde figured cleaning toilets and polishing silver for a conger eel was a far better bet. What was bitter fate for some was blessed fortune for others, and Meg was one of them. In short, she had no more intention of marrying a local fishmonger than flying to the moon, and a lot of hard work and perseverance had gone into seeing it stayed that way. While not glaringly apparent to others, Meg had her sights set on higher things: a job in the city, a man who wore a tie to work, a fancy detached house in a tree-lined residential area. And a boat.
Stuffing her feet into a pair of shoddy canvas slip-ons, she stared longingly at the sleek sailing vessel bobbing languorously on its mooring lines, the hull gleaming white in the late afternoon sunshine. At the top of the mast a seagull screeched loudly. The grey head swivelled from side to side in jerky mechanical movements as it observed the woman standing on the pier below. A sudden gust of wind scudded across the inlet, ruffling the birdâ€™s grubby feathers, and moments later, with a final grating squeal, it rose up, hovered for an instant on an invisible cushion of air, then swooped off towards the village.
Trisha FitzGerald-Petri was born and grew up in Ireland, though she did spend a few brief years of her childhood life Brazil.
After school, she studied Graphic Design and Visual Communications at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and worked for a short time as a freelance designer before moving to Germany. After her children were born, she returned to a language school in Ireland to obtain qualifications in TEFL--Teaching English as a Foreign Language. At present, in addition to her freelance activities (English language/cover design), she works as an assistant in the area of business development.
Her first novel, Peggy Does a Runner, was e-published by Puff Adder Books in 2001 and later earned her the title EPPIE 2003 finalist for Best Single Title/Mainstream Novel. Peggy has been re-released as Making Tracks (2006). Further novels include Casting Off (2005).
In addition, Trisha has written a tongue-in-cheek article for Scribesworld, and assisted in the translation of a book of poetry called The Blue Flowered Sofa. She has also completed a fourth novel, There and Back, and is presently working on a fifth.
Trishaâ€™s daughters, Jenny and Nadia, are now in their twenties and she lives with her partner in a small Bavarian village.
Casting Off is a true nautical adventure. I could feel Megâ€™s dawning horror, her sense of helplessness at grappling with unfamiliar equipment, as well as her stubborn determination to get out of this alive. I treasured the fact that, unlike in most romances, her motive was not track down a man, but to find herself. The sea leaves a sailor precious few self-delusions.
Ms. FitzGerald-Petri has written a compelling novel, by turns humorous, frightening, and touching as Meg and Connor find themselves-and each other. Iâ€™ll warn you now, youâ€™ll wipe a lot of salt spray out of your hair! However, if youâ€™re willing to learn a bit about yachts, sail along with Meg on a voyage of self-discovery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. -- Jeanette Cottrell, Reviewer, eBook Reviews Weekly, http://www.ebook-reviews.net/, Author of At Risk of Being a Fool, http://www.jeanettecottrell.com/
Writer Trisha FitzGerald Petri has produced a festive, fast paced read on the pages of Casting Off. Megan Barry is not the characteristic fanciful heroine, she is however a very acceptable, and agreeable personality. In an eruption of witticism and style FitzGerald Petri paints a keenly focused anecdote filled with excellently masterminded settings, quick-witted plausible characters and exceptional conversation all set against an environment of sea and tumult in this rollicking tale
An excellent choice for the home pleasure reading shelf, high school library and those who like a good adventure with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure Casting Off is a delightful read for a long summery afternoon or an autumn evening spent reading and sipping cocoa. - Entertaining Readâ€¦. Recommendedâ€¦. 4 stars, Reviewed by: Molly Martin, http://www.angelfire.com/ok4/mollymartin, http://www.AuthorsDen.com/mjhollingshead
"Peggy Does A Runnerâ€ (renamed Making Tracks) EPPIE Finalist 2003 - for Best Single Title/Mainstream Novel
Making Tracks: "Ms FitzGerald-Petri is definitely a talent in the humor department, and her skill in the use of dialect and description gives one a keen sense of living in a seaside village and traveling the rural byways of Ireland. For as much as Anne Tylerâ€™s Ladder of Years is a serious portrayal of a woman who bolts from her husband and family, Making Tracks (Peggy Does a Runner) is guaranteed to have you in stitches. That is not to say this story is not without serious issues that arise while the main characters discover what is most important in life and that things arenâ€™t always as they seem. Ms. FitzGerald-Petriâ€™s characters leap from the written page... For anyone who's ever wanted to "do a runner" herself and experience numerous laughs to boot, I can't recommend Peggy Does a Runner highly enough! I rate it: ROFLMAO!! (In other words, absolutely hilarious!)â€ -- Jeanne Allen, KnowBetter.com
Making Tracks (Peggy Does A Runner): "This well-written novel is a delightful mix of true-life, fanciful imagination, realism, laughter, tears, and suspense--yes, plenty of suspense. Without ever being preachy and didactic, this novel holds the mirror to the lives lived by many, if not most, women. And that mirror shows the good as well as the less-than-lovable side of womensâ€™ lives. Iâ€™ll go so far as to predict that no woman with a loving, but less than charismatic husband, with at-times bratty teen(s), and a life that seems all too cut and dried, will fail to find a smile and perhaps even a teardrop in these pages. Thereâ€™s a little Peggy in all of us--thank goodness!â€ -- Jean Goldstrom, eBookFanfare
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 346
Paper Weight (lb): 14.6
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