I lost count of how many books I have reviewed, I stopped counting years ago. Most of those books, have long been forgotten. There are however, books that cannot be forgotten, the words etch themselves into your head. Pigtails and Potter’s Field is in that category, once read, it cannot be ‘unread’.

I tried several openings for this review, one of them was:

Once upon there was a family, dad Neil, mom Grace, and daughters Valerie and Caroline, the perfect ‘atomic family’.

That opening was quickly scrapped! Yes Pigtails And Potter’s Field is a book about family, but the story is not about white picket fences and Sunday School. Every family has the odd skeleton or two skulking deep within their ranks, and this family is no exception.

On the surface the Callaghan seem to have a great life, money is not a problem and while the USA has become their ‘Base Camp’, their hearts belong to Ireland.

The veneer starts to crack when on a visit to Ireland dad Neil dies after being mugged and murdered by some drunken louts looking for free cigarettes. Thus starts a cascade of events that while not connected with the random act of violence somehow open the doors to some very dark and well hidden family secrets.

Grace, Valerie and Caroline do the best to repair their lives, Of the three youngest daughter Caroline appears to be the one with the worst scars. All teens rebel, all teens seek independence from authority, This young lady seeks solace in drugs and later sex. She does appear to free herself from the drug dependence and achieves success in the field of nursing, Valerie mean while has risen through the ranks of a successful magazine and has made it to the lofty position of VP.

It would be a huge disservice to Kathleen Urquhart to share too much about the actual plot, instead I am happy to discuss themes. Yes, sexual abuse of minors is a dominant subject in the book. We have all read articles on the subject of abuse but rarely do they talk about the long term effects. The author does enter these murky waters and draws the conclusion that sometimes over time the abused becomes the abuser. One thing is certain, sexual abuse does have a long term effect.

At over 650 pages, Pigtails And Potter’s Field is hardly a quick read. I have to admit that I initially thought the book was far too long. In today’s Twitter world it seems difficult to lure people into anything more than 140 characters…

Unfortunately it would be very difficult to split the book into two smaller portions without seriously re-engineering the book. The story is too intricate and intertwined for such meddling.

Kathleen Urquhart has created a fine work in Pigtails And Potter’s Field, indeed in the story the significance of Potters Field is revealed.

Copies can be purchased via Amazon, just click the cover image at the top. Kathleen also has an accompanying web site that is well worth a visit. I also hope to be interviewing Kathleen in the near future, I am sure that it will be a fascinating conversation.

Be Sociable, Share!