By Nadine Gallo
Ireland 1917: A year after the Easter Rebellion has been crushed by the British, resentment against the British is still seething. Yet some young Irishmen are serving with British forces against the Germans in the trenches of northern France, as another bloody year of World War I grinds on.
Hadley author Nadine Gallo explores this world in her novel “Impetuous Heart” and through the eyes of the novel’s teenage protagonist, Nora, who finds herself torn in this time of conflicting allegiances. Her heart yearns for Tim Keane, the older village lad who’s gone off to France, and she hates that the war has taken him away: “People were dying for causes, waving flags so they could say they fought for freedom. She couldn’t think of anything worth dying for.”
But eventually Nora draws closer to the rebels and the cause of a free Ireland, the names of Michael Collins and Èamon de Valera summoning images of a better time. When the British hang nine Irishmen in reprisal for the deaths of three of their soldiers in an explosion, Nora knits a green rebel flag and fantasizes about retaliating against a nearby British barracks: “She wanted to blow it up herself.”
“Impetuous Heart” invokes the mysticism of Ireland, as Nora goes to a cave to listen to the voice of what she believes is an oracle — “a voice spoke like water pouring over rocks” — relating ancient tales and prophecies that she tries to interpret. As Ireland looms on the edge of outright war for independence, Nora must make a choice that could alter her life forever.
Gallo will sign copies of her novel at a book launch and reception on Monday at 3 p.m. at the Hadley Senior Community Center in Hooker School, and on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Munson Library in South Amherst.
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark
Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC
This latest entry in the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, a line of inspirational books, compiles over 100 personal stories of miracles, faith, answered prayers and unexplained mysteries. For example, an injured boy, who’s lost in the woods, is about to be attacked by a wild boar — until his family dog, dead for two years, somehow comes to his rescue.
Linda Rhinehart Neas, an educator and writer from South Deerfield, includes an account called “The Angel in the Bright Green Jacket,” describing how she once took her husband, Rog, to the hospital following an operation to correct stenosis of his spine. Her husband, almost too weak to stand, was clinging to her arm, she writes.
Neas looked around for hospital personnel who could help her but saw no one, nor were any wheelchairs available. Just then, a tiny women, with long black hair and a vividly green jacket, “appeared at my elbow. ‘I will stay with him,’ she said. ‘You go find a wheelchair.’ ” Neas secured a wheelchair, got her husband settled in it and thanked the woman for her help; the woman smiled and whispered something in her husband’s ear. Then, after Nees bent down to position the chair’s foot guards, she looked up to find the woman had vanished.
“She couldn’t just disappear,” Neas said to her husband, who responded “Maybe she was an angel. ... When she whispered in my ear, she said ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.’ I just felt such peace. I can’t put it words.”
Her husband, Neas writes, struggled with post-operative problems but eventually was cured; Neas, meanwhile, was never able to find anyone in the waiting room who had seen the mysterious woman in the green jacket. Her husband said, “I just remembered — green is the color of healing. See, she really was an angel!”