By Diana Stevan
Despite a near death diving accident years before, Catherine Fitzgerald, an underwater photographer, embarks on a journey to cover the find of the century, one of the lost ships from the Spanish Armada. But before she goes, she buys an antique ring that triggers nightmares and visions of a young woman searching for someone on an old sailing ship caught in a storm. When Catherine sets out to discover the young woman’s identity, she discovers a connection that will change her life forever.
A CRY FROM THE DEEP is a romantic adventure novel, set in Provence, Manhattan and Ireland. Interwoven with this story of love and loss is the drama that takes place in our oceans, where salvagers continue to wreak havoc on the environment and steal cultural treasures. It’s also about fate and the mystery of how we find love and how it finds us.
I didn’t know what to expect of A CRY FROM THE DEEP, but soon found I was immersed in a mind-tingling mystery of two different times. One event occurred in 1878 off the coast of Killybegs, Donegal Bay, Ireland, when Margaret O’Donnell married James Gallagher after his cargo ship the Alice O’Meary returned from India. Her father gave Margaret her mother’s wedding band to wear.
Fast forward to 2010 in Provence, France. Catherine Fitzgerald was working in her lavender fields when she received a phone call from her old boss. He was offering her the opportunity to come back to work as an underwater photographer at National Geographic. She would have to return to New York so her ex-husband could look after their daughter while she photographed the deep-sea dive of an ill-reputed treasure hunter. Her job was to photograph everything during dives and to make sure all recovered items were recorded as required by law. It was a dangerous job, and she hadn’t been back in the water since she had nearly drowned on another job several years before.
Once in New York, Catherine, with her ex-husband Richard and their daughter Alex toured a street market where Catherine purchased a peculiar gold ring. Was this ring responsible for the nightmares she started having?
Catherine was to work alongside Daniel Costello, a nautical archeologist, who was a very experienced diver and would ease Catherine back into the deep. Daniel was engaged to be married after the salvage project.
Was there a connection between the event of 1878 and Catherine in 2010? You’ll just have to read to find out. No spoilers here.
Stevan created characters and a story that kept me in my chair all day reading A CRY FROM THE DEEP from beginning to end. The amount of material she researched is mind boggling, but her diligence resulted in a believable story with characters so well developed, I had no trouble visualizing any of them. Before long, I felt I knew everyone personally, and was deeply engrossed in one of the most fascinating tales I’ve ever read. This book absolutely merits 5 stars.
About the Author
Diana Stevan took many detours to get to the writing phase of her life. After marrying at 19, she received a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and a Master of Social Work, both with honors, from the University of Manitoba. She moved to B.C. in 1979 with her husband and two children. As a clinical social worker, Diana spent over twenty-five years in the field, working in a variety of settings—psychiatric, child guidance, cancer agency, and private practice.
She’s also worked as a teacher, professional model, actress and a sports writer-broadcaster for CBC television. Writing has been her passion, even though it was relegated to the back seat while her children were young. She’s published fitness and travel articles for newspapers, poetry in the U.K. journal, DREAMCATCHER and a short story in ESCAPE, an anthology published by Peregrin.
Diana has traveled widely and uses her experience to color her stories.
A CRY FROM THE DEEP is her debut novel. She now lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia.
You can visit her on her website and social media:
It was as if she’d never left. Driving over the Queensboro Bridge with Alex and Richard in his BMW, Catherine feasted on the Manhattan skyline. Even though the absence of the twin towers brought tears to her eyes, the majestic spires of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings still stirred her like no other buildings could.
Richard glanced at her. “It still haunts, doesn’t it?”
She nodded as she looked again at where the towers once stood. She said nothing more until they’d crossed the bridge and a man yelling at another man on the street got her attention. “Are you still dealing with some of those patients you took on back then?”
“A few are still coming.” He pursed his lips. “I wasn’t much fun, was I?”
She shrugged. “It wasn’t a fun time.” Richard’s sadness over his patients’ misfortunes had crept into their relationship. Like a fog that showed no signs of letting up, a pall had settled over their union, to the point where even lovemaking became a chore. She couldn’t remember when they’d stopped doing it altogether. Instead of sex, they had each gone to bed with a book, as if reading would squash any desire.
They rode the next few blocks in silence. The rush of cars and pedestrians on East 60th and Park Avenue reminded Catherine of a Pollock painting with its kinetic frenzy and streaks of every color. The yellow cabs and street vendors brought back more memories. She remembered the times they had tramped across town to Greenwich Village to hear some jazz musician, or to an art gallery that had sprung up overnight in Chelsea. They’d had their happy moments.
But after her scuba diving accident, everything had changed. She got depressed, and Richard, being a psychiatrist, started treating her like a patient. And even when she decided to see a therapist, he couldn’t keep his hands off. He called her shrink periodically to give his unsolicited opinion until Catherine found out and insisted he stop. That only added to the strain between them. By that time, she was pregnant.
Catherine looked over at Richard. He was focused on driving. He was still a handsome man with his prematurely silver hair and soft blue eyes. And when he smiled, his face shone in a way that made her wonder why she’d ever left. Perhaps they were too much alike. They both needed to be in charge. One thing, though. They had their differences, but they never fought. Instead, they had drifted apart, each trapped in a bubble. It had been no surprise that their divorce turned out to be an amicable one. Richard hated scenes and because of Alex, Catherine was forever grateful.
They had stopped at a light. She said, “How’s the rest of your practice? Still turning heads inside out?”
“Not much has changed. I’ve got the usual assortment of the too thin, too rich, and too…” He glanced back at Alex, whose face was pressed against the side window. “Too forked.”
Catherine said wryly, “Forked?”
“You know what I mean.”
Alex groaned and gave her mother an oh, brother look. Catherine couldn’t help smiling. Alex was at the age where you couldn’t get much past her.
It was too bad she and Richard couldn’t have made it. Especially for Alex’s sake. When Richard had showed up at arrivals to greet them, Alex had run to him shrieking with delight.
He had swung her around and said, “Look at your legs! You’re getting so tall.”
Catherine always got a lump in her throat at these times. She still blamed herself for dragging their daughter so far away. When he had put Alex down, she and Richard had hugged awkwardly, as if they’d never hugged one another before. It was strange how intimate they’d once been. That alone made her wary of any future attachment. You love someone one day, and the next, you’re both strangers.
As they drove on, she was glad that Alex—after taking a recess—was back at entertaining her father with tales of Disney World. Her incessant chattering left little room for small talk or any uncomfortable silence.
Richard turned on to Central Park West, where the traffic had slowed to a crawl. Up ahead, there seemed to be an accident. It was bumper to bumper as one driver after the other swiveled to find an opening. They inched forward. It seemed to take forever before Richard was able to turn left at West 75th Street and then right on Columbus Avenue. It was still slow, but better slow than stuck in the midst of steaming New Yorkers. On the other side of the road, an outdoor flea market, one city block long, was in full swing.
Alex rolled down her window. “Mama, can we stop, please, please, please?”
“Oh, Alex,” said Catherine. It’d been hectic since they’d left Provence and the last thing she wanted was a stop at a crowded marketplace.
“Well…?” asked Richard. “You better make up your minds fast.”
Catherine threw up her hands. Parking was always a headache. “Suit yourself.”
Richard gamely looked for a spot. He could never say no to Alex.
“Looks like you’re going to get your wish,” said Catherine.
“How about I drop you both off, and I’ll come and find you?”
Catherine scanned the throngs weaving past the various stalls and spotted a canopy with lettering: Hats by Helene. She checked her watch and then pointed at the sign. “How about we meet at eleven by that hat table?” Maybe the market wouldn’t be so bad. She could always use another hat.
Catherine and Alex had walked the entire circuit—of antiques, homemade foods, and old photographs of once-famous stars—before Richard caught up with them at the hat table. Catherine was trying to decide whether to buy a black wool one with a brim and a braided ribbon around the crown. It reminded her of the hat Diane Keaton wore in that Woody Allen picture decades ago. Some things never went out of style.
“Looks good on you.” He smiled approvingly.
“It does, Mama.”
Catherine checked her image in the hand mirror on the table. She liked what she saw and pulled her wallet out from her bag.
Richard took out a roll of bills from his pants pocket. “Let me get it for you.”
“It’s only a hat, Catherine.”
She hesitated and then said, “If you’re sure.” She grinned as he paid the seller. “Thanks. You’ve always been generous.”
“You’re welcome.” Richard put a hand on Alex’s shoulder. “What about you, cookie? Did you find anything?”
“Yes.” Alex opened a plastic bag she was holding and took out a small stuffed blue and yellow rabbit with a white bow on each ear. “She’s my lucky rabbit foot.”
Richard and Catherine laughed as Alex hopped around holding up her new purchase. Is this what it would’ve been like had she stayed? Would they be this perfect family?
Richard looked at her as if he was thinking the same thing. But maybe the thought was too dangerous, because he said nothing and turned away.
Alex stopped hopping by a booth featuring antique jewelry. She fingered some bracelets and then settled on a blue suede jewelry case with a twirling ballerina inside. Richard came up behind her to see the tiny plastic dancer spin slowly to one of the pieces from The Nutcracker. “Can you make her go faster, Papa?”
While Richard attended to Alex, Catherine admired a display of rings on a black velvet cloth on the same table. The bands were the usual sterling silver, some carved, and some set with turquoise, black onyx, or malachite stones. She tried on several, but nothing seemed special. The vendor, a woman with frizzy, red hair partly covered by a paisley scarf, watched Catherine for a few moments before bending under the table. She brought up a small wooden box and opened it, revealing a slightly tarnished gold ring.
Fascinated by the design—two hands holding a heart—Catherine tried the ring on her right hand. It slid on easily with no room to spare.
“This is nice, huh?” Catherine said to Alex.
“Oh, that’s so cute!”
The redheaded vendor tucked her hair behind her ear. “It’s a Claddagh ring. Very old Irish wedding ring. More than a hundred years old.”
Catherine raised her hand, allowing the sunlight to bathe her fingers. The heart with the crown on top glistened in the light.
“Why don’t you buy it, Mama? It’s so pretty.”
“It’s a wedding ring, Alex. I don’t need a wedding ring.”
The vendor said, “You can buy it for good luck. Everyone needs good luck.”
“But it’s not a good luck ring.”
Alex looked closer at it. “Maybe it is, Mama. I have my rabbit’s foot. You can have a ring.”
Catherine took the gold ring off, and examined the inside of it. There was some kind of hallmark, followed by numbers that were too small to make out. She put it back on the velvet cloth and looked at the others, but her attention kept coming back to the Irish ring. “Can I ask you where you got it?’
The vendor shrugged. “In an estate sale. The guy who died was an Irish immigrant. A fisherman. He apparently found it in a large cod caught off the coast of Ireland.”
“In a fish?”
“That’s what the seller said.”
Alex screwed up her face in distaste. “Ooo. The fish ate it? Does it still smell?”
Catherine laughed and put the ring up to Alex’s nose.
“It doesn’t,” said Alex, wide-eyed.
Catherine said, “It’s a beautiful ring. How much is it?”
“One hundred and fifty dollars. You won’t find another one like it. It’s a genuine antique. You’re lucky, it already fits. You won’t have to have it sized.”
Richard turned to Catherine. “Do you need another ring?”
She hated when he used that tone. As if she were a child. It was her own fault. She shouldn’t have asked for his opinion. She glanced down at her finger again. “I’ll take it.”
The vendor got a small paper bag from under the table, but Catherine had already slipped the ring on. “It’s okay. I’ll wear it.” She figured she could use some luck.
Printed by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Charleston, South Carolina.
Distributed by Ingram Book Company
ISBN: eBook 1-4975-36634
CIP data on file with The National Library of Canada
Release Date: October 15, 2014
An e-copy of A CRY FROM THE DEEP was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.