Who says you can’t go home? Who says you can’t forgive, come to peace with the past, and move forward? Is it possible to discover who you really are and find true love? A Stranger to Myself addresses these universal questions. We are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of our parents.
Set in a small rural community in 1957, my story is about a young woman who returns home after her relationship with a married man goes sour. Marka is convinced Ridley is where she belongs—though its inhabitants are eccentric characters obsessed with the space race and the Cold War. Marka spends a year of turmoil under the watchful eye of her spinster aunt, a culturally bound, German Russian. Life quickly becomes muddled with romantic predicaments and confusion over Marka's value as a person. To add to her dilemma, during the flight from Denver, she sat next to a woman and “told all”. This stranger neglects to mention that she has moved to Ridley during Marka’s absence; she makes Marka’s life miserable.
A Stranger to Myself, a penetrating story about a young woman’s struggle to understand herself, will bring you to tears as you read about: shame, secrets, and forgiveness. It imparts wisdom without being preachy. It takes you into the thoughts and feelings of a woman coming to terms with her "self".
My personal journey, growing up in a small town, gives me unique insight to write this novel. An education in psychology provides me the background to probe deep into the psyche of these unforgettable characters.
The moment she knocked on Anna’s door, her twisted emotions unraveled like a braid. Marka watched Bodie drive away in his pickup and giggled at how the inside of it smelled like aftershave. He was trying to cover the smell of his unwashed hair. She placed her suitcase on the freshly swept concrete porch and then knocked on Anna’s door again. The cold air stung her lungs as she took in a deep breath and let it out in small white puffs. Marka peered through a slit in the curtain on the inside of the storm door. Where was Anna? She studied her reflection in the polished glass. She looked haggard after the long trip from Denver.
Anna’s house had always been her safe haven. The thought of this made her cry. The raw March wind blew across her face and stung her tear-filled eyes. She wiped the icy droplets away with the wool scarf Anna had sent for her twenty-fifth birthday.
Finally, the door swung open, and there stood Anna with outstretched arms. She clasped Marka’s hands in hers and pulled her into the front room. Marka leaned down to kiss Anna’s soft, warm cheek. “It's so good to see you. It's good to be home.”
Judy weaves this novel with her skill as a seasoned storyteller. She examines the doubts and struggles we each experience, but can’t always grasp. You will be half way through the book by the time you realize this is more than entertainment, it is a self-help guide to help us to forgive our self and others.
Judy's use of dialogue will make you feel like Marka has joined you for a cup of coffee to share life’s leason’s,