The Priest, His Lady and The Drowned Child

The secrets, lies and weaknesses of five truly memorable characters are exposed, with each becoming challenged in ways they could never have predicted.

The fragilities and strengths of close relationships are examined, and exposed, as they apply to man and woman, man and man, and parent and child. Constructed in both the present and the past, The Priest, His Lady and The Drowned Child is a deep examination of human behaviour, culminating in a denouement of profound revelation. A compelling, sensitive, page-turning read, recounted with warm entertaining prose.

Father Ewan McEwan, a Roman Catholic priest, is ‘a man like any other’ and, despite his vows, has enjoyed a passionate long-term relationship with Lady Marina Proudfoot, an older woman of great beauty and refinement. Following her premature death, he is forced to follow his own unique instruction; ‘To know yourself is to understand yourself, and memory is the only key’

Marina’s son, Timothy, also mourns her deeply, and is faced with the emerging ghosts and demons of his troubled past. ‘A child’s arm held erect, as if waving. Waving, not drowning.’

Timothy’s lover, Roger, is ‘dancing with delight’ to be rid of Marina, and immediately leaves his marital home to move in with Timothy.

Sally, Roger’s wife, confused by her husband’s departure, is now compelled to pursue an alternative lifestyle. ‘Face facts, Sally. You’re a pathetic, humiliated, dumped wife.

As a red thread to the unfolding drama, Marina’s own posthumous story is told through her scandalous revelations, The Tales From The Purple Handbag. ‘With a rare afternoon alone it’s a perfect time to start a painful journey to the inside of myself.’


Oxford Daily Information by Amanda Stock

I was looking forward with keen interest to the next novel by Mary Cavanagh (The Crowded Bed) and The Priest, His Lady and The Drowned Child does not disappoint.  Again, she is a spell-binding storyteller, and not a gentle one – she seizes you by the scruff of your imagination and plunges you head-first into a world of titanic passions and cruel consequences from which you cannot be released until the last page is turned.  Again I had to stay awake till the wee small hours to devour the book in one sitting; and again it was an absolute delight.  Her writing is fresh, pungent, surprising; often sharp and very funny.  I loved it and unreservedly recommend it.


Lynne Moores (Molyneux) BookCrosser 13th September 2008

The tale is told skilfully, interweaving the lives of the characters and their relationships, the drama gradually builds to a crescendo, never faltering, a fantastic page turner and thankfully with a very satisfying end! I have just finished the book but I know these characters will remain with me for some time yet – and I have the urge to pick up the book and go back to the beginning to read it all again. A fabulous must-read, this book will remain on my permanent bookshelf although I’ll be buying more copies for friends!

Fabulous page-turner! Need more books by this author


Sharon Stanley Library Reader – Ipswich, Suffolk  August, 2008

A truly, excellent and page-turning read, a stunning follow up to The Crowded Bed. As before, Mary creates credible, human characters that excite, anger, frustrate, and generally mess up their lives – as we all do – whilst evoking our sympathy, and affection for their human frailties. She writes with sensitivity and a sure hand, using psychological nuance, darkness, and human weakness, so very well. However, to lighten the moral overload she injects a running theme of black humour, with perfect balance. The Priest, His Lady and The Drowned Child is wholeheartedly recommended. It will appeal to all age groups, of both sexes, and will make a superb choice as a Book Group read. Hopefully, it will become a huge best seller for Mary.


Elaine Simpson-Long, Random Jottings, 18th September 2008

This book packs quite a punch and while I could not put it down once I started, I made myself do so as I felt I needed time out half way through to recover from its impact. Mary’s first book The Crowded Bed which I reviewed last year was also pretty powerful and, again, not a book to be taken lightly, but as with this one, quite a read. Hard hitting and powerful stuff . It grabbed my attention and never let it go until I had finished reading. Written with great conviction and style with a narrative not only flicking backwards and forwards between the main protagonists, but also in time so you need to concentrate, this is a worthy successor to The Crowded Bed.


‘The BookBag’ September 15th 2008

I first came across Mary Cavanagh when I was sent her debut novel, ‘The Crowded Bed‘ for reviewing. I very much enjoyed it, despite a bizarre opening and unusual theme, and looked forward to reading more by the same author. So I was pleased when The Bookbag sent me a copy of Mary Cavanagh’s second book recently, and have been reading it for the last few days.

The novel is very cleverly written, interspersing action in the present, and the reader quickly learns something far more shocking than any of the characters could imagine. I found it quite tiring reading at first; I felt drained by some of the emotion, and I also had to pause between chapters to consider the implications of new revelations. By the end, though, I was racing to find out what was going to happen.  I’d recommend it highly.