By Colleen Baxter Sullivan
Key Themes: fiction, mental health, family
The novel begins in Joliette prison with Dr. Miller interviewing and recording Lilís memoirs. He is there on false pretenses. He hopes to get enough evidence to have her released. She has committed the most terrible crimes of violence.
Lil suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The good doctor feels that based on her history and the knowledge obtained through this case study there might be a glimmer of hope for her release.
Lil brings us back through her early childhood and the abuse suffered at the hands of her parents. Her great love for the city takes us on a wonderful adventure, while seeing it for the first time through Lilís eyes as she explores her Montreal.
This novel goes back and forth, with the past and present intertwining bringing this story to the readers. What happened to get Lil imprisoned? There are so many stages where you think Lil will survive only to have it quickly reversed. Just at the end when you think all is well the most horrific event happens.
Lilís Way has adventure, mystery, and passion. Each chapter unfolds a new opportunity for you to get to know Lil. You canít help but love and yet at the same time form abhorrence for this character.
About the Author
Colleen Baxter Sullivan was born in Montreal, Canada. Her love for the city and its culture led her to write Lilís Way. Never tiring of Montreal, she still roams its many streets in search of new and exciting treasures.
She started writing almost as soon as she learned to read. As a child she loved to journal and she wrote down all her thoughts and feelings. This led her to write poetry and many short stories. Her passion for life and her vivid imagination is evident in her writing. She is best known for her description and detail. This makes her characters come alive.
She now resides in Deux-Montagnes, a small community on the outskirts of Montreal with her greatest joy, her family. She is a wife and the mother of five grown children.
Lilís Way is her first novel. She is presently writing Lilís sequel. She will continue to write books centered in Montreal.
The year is 1961. I am twelve and at a very impressionable period in my life, as custom would have it; the cupboard under the stairs was a safe haven for my brother and me.
It was different though on that particular day. I was frightened, jerking with each piercing scream. Oh, the screams were not of a hurtful nature. Having to listen repeatedly to such outbursts, I was able to distinguish the difference. My mother was pushing my father to such an extent that I was worried he would strike her. With such continuous behaviour on my fatherís part, mom should have known to just let him wear off the liquor. I could never understand how a smart woman felt the need to pursue a fight with a drunken man. I believed my mother satisfied some sick pleasure within herself, tantalising and provoking him. Now I know it was a control issue, more hers than his.
ďJohn, you think you are a man?Ē she would say. ďWell, Iíll tell you, you are just a fraction of what you used to be, and that was nothing to write home about.Ē And that is all it took to see the veins trying to burst through my fatherís temples.
ďMargaret, you are going to pay for this one day,Ē heíd yell.
I wondered what would be smashed this time. I hoped it wouldnít be any of my antique dolls. Patching their faces with glue, mending their torn skirts, had become very noticeable. My friends kept asking why I didnít put my dolls on a safer shelf.
Why break my things? I loved my dolls, but knew I must not get too close to them, for fear their imaginary lives would be soon over. Maybe stuffed animals were the answer, but I deemed I was too old for them. I tried to think of something else to love.
Earlier that day, mom looked so beautiful. Her long red hair was tied up in ribbons, creating a cascade of thick curls that gathered on her shoulders. When she walked the curls bounced with each step. It was as if her hair was swaying to a symphony. Each stride taken, the curls would then perform a dance. When she moved the motion of her skirt provided a harmony of its very own. Throughout my childhood, I thought she looked like a movie star. I was very much in awe of her. I would follow her around the house, just to catch the slightest whiff of her perfume. Each passing brought a hint of lavender that lingered in the room. I embraced that smell.
I remember thinking to myself, why is she so dressed up today? Are Grandma and Grandpa coming over? It was not unusual for them to drop by to see that all was well. I hoped they would come for a visit. I have the fondest memories of my grandparents. When all hell broke out at my home, theirs was a comfortable place to mend. My grandparentís house always had the smell of cinnamon, vanilla and cooking spices.
Grandpa Luke would not take any nonsense from you. He seemed to tower over me and moved with an awkward and gauche mannerism, primarily because he served in both wars and could not relate to most people, other than in a disciplinary manner. But I knew he loved me. He would always have hidden in those massive hands of his a toffee or two. He was all talk, rather rough around the edges but soft and warm in the centre, much the same as one of Grandmaís hot apple pies. I always knew his love was unconditional.
My grandparents didnít have much money but when you ate at their home, Grandma had a way of serving up a feast. Even the smallest course was served with the greatest of care. I always marveled at how she could serve a houseful of people with one small chicken. By the time she added Yorkshire pudding, stuffing and other trimmings, it was this great spread, with everyone having plenty on their plates and second helpings that were offered liberally.
Grandma came from the old country where they had to make do. She always would say, ďLil, the best creations are born out of necessity.Ē Grandma definitely had a talent for making all those who entered her tiny home feel welcome. I loved my grandparents dearly.
I noticed that when my parents and grandparents were together, there was this deep tension in the room, very unexplainable. Later as the stories were told and the memories unfolded, I began to understand.
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