A Secret Woman
by Rose Solari
A Secret Woman, a novel by Rose Solari
Louise Terry is the quintessential modern woman — a successful and independent artist, sexually confident and headstrong, she’s determined to carve out a life for herself where her painting comes first and where she can avoid messy romantic entanglements. But when her estranged mother, Margaret, dies, leaving a box of documents, photos, and journals, Louise discovers in its contents a new and very different woman from the difficult and enigmatic one who raised her. This Margaret was admired by Catholic priests and Wiccan priestesses alike for her spiritual gifts and was working, at the time of her death, on the life story of a twelfth -century girl saint of revolutionary and dangerous ideas. Determined to solve the mystery of her mother’s secret life, Louise travels to England, where she meets her mother’s former lover, the acclaimed playwright Lawrence Ware, who first helps and then tries to derail Louise’s search for the truth.
Blurring the boundaries between past and present, between the body and the spirit, between female and male, this page-turning mystery is a sexy romp through time and space, a profound meditation on the mother-daughter connection, and an enlightening exploration of what it means to make love, to make art, and to make a life worth living.
A Secret Woman is not only a pleasure to read, it is sneaky serious in a way I particularly like. Rose Solari explores the eternal literary theme of self — who we are, who are the ones we love, and how we invent and reinvent these people, trying always to paint ourselves into the vast canvas of life and history. A very promising fiction debut. — Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of Perfume River and Severance