Title: Freefall: A Divine Comedy
Author: Lily Iona MacKenzie
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Humorous Fiction
The story of four old friends reuniting to contemplate their 60th birthdays turns into a marvelous, magical mystery tour with plenty of surprises and laughs along the way. An enchanting exploration of aging, art, philosophy, feminism, and motherhood, written with style and a heavy dose of humor. A Divine Comedy, indeed!
During a four-day reunion in Whistler, B.C., Tillie Bloom, a wacky installation artist, reconnects with three women she had hung out with in the late '50s and early '60s. While in Whistler, secrets surface and a near death experience occurs during a hike, both of which bind the women at a deeper level.
Their new intimacy prompts them to celebrate the millennium as well as their approaching sixtieth birthdays in Italy. So a few weeks later, Tillie travels to Venice to have an extended reunion with her friends. While the women assume they're in Venice to vacation and deepen their relationships, Tillie has a hidden agenda: she intends to crash the Venice Biennale, hoping to find a larger audience for her art. Cupid's arrows complicate her goals when she and an Italian priest fall for each other.
The reflective quality of Venice's canals also create unexpected changes in the women, causing them to turn inward. They all end up with a fresh take on themselves and their lives. Tillie, in particular, experiences a deeper understanding of herself. But will it take her on a path she's ready to travel, and will Venice finally give her the recognition she seeks as an artist?
Four friends reunite to celebrate their respective sixtieth birthdays in Italy. Each woman’s life has changed dramatically since the 1960’s yet there’s still a part of their youth hidden within. While on this reunion tour, Tillie falls in love with a priest, secrets are revealed and the love these women share grow stronger so that not even death can tear them apart. Tillie, especially, takes a retrospective look at her life and when an opportunity presents itself, she must choose the right path or she may live to regret it.
Freefall: A Divine Comedy is exactly what the titles imply, a spiritual story about four women and their renewed friendships told in comedic precision. Beautifully-written with lush descriptive narration. Each character has her own backstory, personality and life experiences. The scenes in Italy were breathtaking, so much so, I closed my eyes and breathed in the Venetian smells.
While this is a women’s fiction, any reader will find this an enjoyable read. Universal truths are peppered throughout and the spiritual undertones were just the right amount. The humorous dialogue, like in all of Lily Iona MacKenzie’s books, is hilarious and spot-on. Highly recommend!
Favorite Character/Quote: Tillie. Tillie is one of those unforgettable characters, one where you secretly wish you could be as carefree as she is. Sure, she’s wacky at times but there’s so much depth to her, she’s a joy a read.
My Rating: 5 stars
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I'm devoted to following the intricacies of language and where it takes me. I'm ardent about words and what they evoke in our minds and imaginations, the worlds they create. And I'm constantly learning, a student of the writer's craft, eager to open myself each day to the endless possibilities this calling presents. No wonder I love to write!
Writing requires exertion, the ability not to give in when we've received yet another rejection. Some people call this perseverance. But is that what it takes to keep writing in the face of adversity, rejection, and lack of recognition? The word sounds so duty bound, so driven. To me, a better word is discipline because at the root is disciple, though there are many lovely variations on this word that I actually prefer: student, follower, learner, devotee.
About me? A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in my early years, I supported myself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored me into the States). I also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (I was the first woman to work on the SF docks and almost got my legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities).
I have published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 155 American and Canadian venues. My novel Fling! was published in July 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, will be published in September 2017. A third novel, Freefall: A Divine Comedy will be released in 2018. My poetry collection All This was published in 2011. I also taught writing at the University of San Francisco and was vice-president of USF's part-time faculty union. When I’m not writing, I paint and travel widely with my husband. I also blog at https://lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N