by Sheri Meshal
Chicago wife, mother and finance executive Claire Cummings, arrives at work one morning to discover her friend Julia has embezzled millions and vanished. Blindsided and devastated by the betrayal, she’s sent home pending further investigation. Claire’s bizarre death the following day sends everyone reeling, guessing and looking for her in all the wrong places. In no time she's addicted to an enchanting menagerie of tricks and techniques for getting the living's attention, but most people are harder to reach than she'd ever dreamed and even harder to set free.
She was still a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend... she'd move heaven and earth to keep it that way.
Sheri Meshal’s Swallowtail is a haunting story about life, love, loss and just how far we’ll go to control it all.
This debut from a thought-provoking new voice in fiction begs the question… what would you do if all the rules changed, and you were suddenly bestowed powers beyond your greatest imagination?
Our Book Review
Sometimes you find a book that you connect to instantly even before reading the story, as soon as I saw the book cover and read the book description I knew that this was my type of book and I had to read it. I had such high expectations that when the book arrived as well as being excited to start reading, I was also a little hesitant just incase. The author has written an absolutely amazing heart warming story that actually allows the reader to be there feeling the emotions and sharing the experiences throughout the book.
The story follows a bank cashier called Claire, who's closest colleague Julia has ran away with three million dollars and due to their closeness most people assume Claire is also involved. Claire is tragically killed leaving her husband and two children behind. When she awakes she finds her cherished and loving Nana waiting for her on the other side and feels the warmth all around her. There are many spiritual and life lessons that Claire must remember and learn under the guidance of Nana and her spiritual guides and she must weigh what she has lost against what she has gained.
I was drawn into the book immediately, the author has included so many different aspects to the story it really is a joy to read. Throughout the book I felt my heart pull at times and wanted to reach out to help Claire as she feels distraught, helpless and desperate to communicate, reading the poignant emotional attempts of contacting her family is extremely moving and touching as well as sometimes being quite humorous and yet I also felt joy and comfort as the story came together.
The soft, delicate and imaginative way the author describes certain things in the book is truly beautiful. There are two small parts of the book in particular that I keep remembering that really took hold of me as if I was there in the story. Claire is holding onto too much pain leaving her loved ones behind and still wanting to take part in their lives so she is taken to the tapestry of life by her guardian angel Cal. Each life has a thread and each thread creates the tapestry of life, Claire is shown that by pulling threads, keeping hold of what has gone, can alter the affect of the whole tapestry. The tapestry takes a hold of Clare and she fights against it until she can fight no more but then senses the warmth and safe feeling from it, all her negativity leaves her and she is free and blissful. I was truly there with Claire at that moment as well as being able to imagine her spiritual guide Ahma as the author describes her appearing waist deep in a meadow of voilet wildflowers.
and so much more !!!
Sheri Meshal spent most of her childhood on an old farm in Iowa. She is an author by day and chauffeur by night... for a tad bit longer. Swallowtail took over six years to write and was inspired by bizarre events which occurred shortly after her father's passing in 1998. Best friends, they'd engaged in countless conversations regarding the possibility of life after death and enjoyed sharing books on the subject years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer. After a myriad of unexplainable events, Sheri realized had she died first, she would've done everything in her power to get her father's attention and show him all the things she could do.
Her father had informed her that she was a writer long before she could begin to accept the possibility. In her heart, she knew he should've been the writer, and if she did possess any talent for it, it was due to his DNA. She began writing for both of them and often wondered if he helped her, as crucial research repeatedly found its way to her by the strangest means. When she met medium Jonathan Louis, he desperately tried to avoid a cliche topic. Exasperated, he finally gave in saying, "I don't want to say this. Whenever I do, the room goes crazy. Sometimes it just is what it is and nothing more, but what does it mean when I say the word butterfly to you?" Overcome with emotion, she confessed she'd written a novel titled Swallowtail about a dead woman communicating with her friends and family. He answered softly with a smile, "He helps you."