Join us in welcoming Maine's Joan Dempsey to our store where she will be discussing and signing her novel This Is How It Begins.
Winner of the 2017 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers
In 2009, eighty-five-year-old art professor Ludka Zeilonka gets drawn into a political firestorm when her grandson, Tommy, is among a group of gay Massachusetts teachers fired for allegedly silencing Christian kids in high school classrooms. The ensuing battle to reinstate the teachers raises the specter of Ludka's World War II past--a past she's spent a lifetime trying to forget. Radio host Warren Meck has been leading the Massachusetts campaign to root out anti-religious bias in public schools--but he believes in working respectfully within the political system, so he's alarmed and offended when his efforts are undermined by someone inciting violent action. Even worse, he fears the culprit is among his inner circle. As Ludka's influential family defends Tommy under increasingly vicious conditions, a stranger with connections to her past shows up and threatens to expose her for illegally hoarding a valuable painting presumed stolen by the Nazis. Compulsively readable, This Is How It Begins is a timely novel about free speech, the importance of empathy, and the bitter consequences of long-buried secrets.
"In a time when religious liberty is on trial, [this] is an extraordinarily pertinent novel dripping in suspense and powerful scenes of political discourse ... a must-read ...." --FOREWORD (starred review)
"Beautifully written ... An ambitious and moving debut novel." --Lily King, author of the award-winning national bestseller Euphoria
New England native Joan Dempsey received an MFA and teaching certificate in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her writing has been published in The Adirondack Review, Alligator Juniper, Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora, and Plenitude Magazine, and aired on National Public Radio. Dempsey was the recipient of a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for her work on This Is How It Begins. She lives in Maine with her partner and their family of animals.