Birdie & Jude, Spring, 2018
It could have been a coincidence or maybe fate, but it certainly was serendipitous that Birdie Barnes found Judith Reynolds on the beach during her morning walk. Bothered by the sameness in her life and the loss of the passion she felt in her youth, Birdie had been restless and nostalgic.
Jude had just been sidelined from the biggest milestone in her life. A product of a family tragedy forcing her and her siblings into foster care, Jude grew up in several homes, none of which she could call her own. In the moves that followed, she lost track of her siblings. However, she and a friend had just earned their graduate degrees and were on their way to backpack in Europe as a celebration of their achievement. What began as an adventure quickly changed.
An unlikely pair, Birdie and Jude weather a hurricane together and form a quirky friendship that dances around their secrets. They reflect each other in their insecurities. But Birdie notices something in Jude that is startling and familiar. It could be the very thing she has been mourning, the spark that left her life as a rebelious teenager.
Birdie’s story begins with her childhood in the early ‘50’s, a time of safety and familiarity in a close-knit neighborhood. Expectations were clear and there was no room for a child in an upper-middle class family to deviate from the norm. Knowing what was normal was easy. Birdie’s problem was there was nothing normal about her, forcing her to align herself with others like herself. However, that alliance didn’t sit well with her socially adept family. There were expectations she couldn't meet and liaisons that everyone but her knew were dangerous.
She sought out others who could validate her authentic self. But, did Birdie ever accept herself?
Jude meets Birdie just as she thought she might be reaching the most exciting milestone in her life, a chance to spread her wings and put her life of foster care behind her. A tragedy she never fathomed, derails all her plans and lands her in a home, again not her own. However, this time, the woman in charge knows something about being different.
In a roller coaster of emotions forcing each woman to step into their past to look toward their futures, this novel explores self-discovery and the lies we tell ourselves to fit in. It’s confirmation that spirit never leaves us and the soul we are is constantly and forever evolving. It’s Alice Hoffman meets Sarah Addison Allen and Debbie Macomber on Galveston Island.