At the Corner of King Street. Mary Ellen Taylor. Berkley Books Trade Paperback Original. May 2015. 252 pp. ISBN#: 9780425278253.
Addie Morgan’s family is cursed! Her mother and sister suffer from a mental illness which seems to be a bipolar disorder. The question is whether or not this is truly a family curse or a genetic predisposition for the females in the female to inherit this debilitating disease. This is a story about how this disease affects the woman afflicted by it and the effect it has on family. It’s a rollercoaster ride to be sure, and Addie has spent the last seven years escaping from it after she and her sister were in a terrible accident.
Addie has found a new life away from Alexandria, Virginia where she has fallen in love with a man whom she adores and has gone from grape picker to manager of her partner’s winery business, a profession she has also come to love. All in all her life is presently serene, with occasional memories that she immediately rejects in spite of their haunting quality.
The moments’ bliss is broken, however, when she receives four telephone calls from her sister, Janet. Unknown to Addie, Janet had disappeared from her husband and son’s life and has now reappeared in dire straits. It turns out she’s pregnant, about to deliver a baby and has not been taking her medications for a very long time. Needless to say, she’s psychologically as unstable as possible. Addie’s Aunt Grace calls for Addie to come to the rescue.
This is the story that will keep any reader riveted to the page as Addie returns to deal with a very ill sister, an Aunt who is feeling her age and more, and a newborn who is possibly the crankiest baby in the planet except when in Addie’s arms. Oh, there’s a family salvage business to be rescued from bankruptcy as well! What about her lover who knows absolutely nothing about her family life? Secrets sometimes do more harm than good, don’t they? Is there truly a secret curse on the Morgan family?
Addie is torn between staying and leaving but the reader must follow the story to see how Addie’s entire world is changing in unpredictable, challenging ways that are so very credible. This honestly doesn’t read like fiction but more like a memoir about the ravages of mental illness and the growth and sacrifice it demands from all involved.
Outstanding story! Fine contemporary fiction, indeed!