by Dr. Niamh Clune
Orange Petals in a Storm is an Inner Child Book for Adults. Skyla McFee is an eleven-year-old orphan who lives still in her mother’s love. She is bullied but never defeated,locked in a cold, dark cellar, but enters an inner room where a hearth-fire casts light about her soul. She learns to befriend enemies and lead lost souls back to themselves. See through the eyes of a child pure in heart. In Skyla's world, we find rescue from every hazard and outlive the longest night! A Snippet... Not until she reached Kingsland Road did she relax her pace to a brisk walk. Some might have thought it strange to see a young girl walking with pace and determination along East London’s drenched streets at such a time of night. She wore no coat. Dressed in her grey school skirt and blue jumper, only the local school she attended defined her. Those in the warm safety of their cars or huddled under umbrellas might indeed have given her a passing glance and wondered what she was doing there mud-stained and alone. She swung left into Downham Road and continued her pace until she reached De Beauvoir Road. Turning right, she came at last to St. Peter’s Church. In happier times, she had loved the chiming bells and the clock on the front of its Gothic tower, but on this night, the church held little interest. Running at a right angle to it was her final destination: Number Six Northchurch Terrace. She did not intend to enter the house that once had been her home. She intended instead to pass beneath the rose arch at the bottom of the garden, search out the loose fence plank, slide it across, and squeeze through the gap into the builder’s yard. She stood between the Church buttresses in search of shelter from the rain but found little. The rain dripped from her hair, into her eyes, down her face and off the end of her nose. She shivered and stared at the house on the other side of the road. All that concerned her now was how to enter the garden whilst avoiding detection. She would choose her moment carefully; she would watch and wait until the house became dark and still. The Church bell chimed the passing of another hour. At last, when all was quiet and the rain-sodden, glistening street slept, she crossed the road and opened the iron gate. Descending the steep, stone steps to the lower garden level, she hid amongst the shadows. Moving quietly with their slowly unfolding motions and shapes, she had little to fear from such as these. Those silent inhabitants of her once beloved garden had been her friends. Once again, they cloaked her well, enabling her to move to the garden’s end. Passing beneath the rose bushes, she sought out the loose plank. Though she searched, carefully feeling the edge of each one, she could not find the plank that would give her entry into the builder’s yard. Her final vestiges of strength and determination ebbed away into the saturated earth. Sinking into the mud, she curled up into a tiny ball and gave herself up to the rain. Purr! Purrrrrh! Again, Purr! Purrrrrh! Mick sounded like a telephone. His insistence pulled her out of the numbness that had crawled over her. The cat’s presence enticed her back into the cold, wet world. He pressed his warm nose close to her ear. He head-butted her, letting her know he was delighted to see her again, his person returned to him. Purr! Purrrrrh! He rubbed along her body. Then jumping onto her hip, he walked along her side with his tail flicking in the air. Despite her fatigue, she managed to sit upright. She hugged the cat and pressed her face into his wet fur for warmth and companionship. The cold crept through her like a silent thief, pinching her features and turning them blue. The child of eleven years remained sitting upright, silent and unmoving beneath the roses at the bottom of the garden.
"The author has brought the world of inner images and wisdom into a little girl's nitty, gritty, everyday life with amazing grace and style. She tells a story that involves you in the hero's life from the very start. Niamh is, in the Irish tradition, a masterful wordsmith. The story is beautifully written, powerful, moving, original and believable. I am going to read it again." Douglas J.
"I was gripped by Skyla's story as we were plunged into her world from the very first page. Though the story is of a seemingly ordinary girl her extraordinary insight unfolds as her story is told. For me the magic of the story lies in how her inner world and her day to day reality of life are so interwoven. The varied characters come to vivid life with all their complicated lives, inner angst, thoughts, conflicts, humour and tenderness. I found the book deeply moving, inspiring and hopeful; a story for our time. Absolutely loved it!" Kd S.
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