In This Vale of Tears



A religious mystery and one person’s conflict between eros and agape against the ideological conflicts of the 1960s. The second book in the Winterbine trilogy following The Castle of Heavenly Bliss (also listed on Amazon).

In chapter four of THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS (the first book in the Winterbine trilogy), Aine O’Riordan arrives in Binawarra, her spirits shattered, the causes of which are only darkly hinted at. IN THIS VALE OF TEARS begins with the mysterious events that led to her shattered spirits as a postulant in the order of the Sisters of the Suffering Saviour, events which force her to give up her desire to join the religious life. With deep sorrow she leaves behind dear friend and fellow postulant Virginia Pearson to deal with the unexplained happenings and an atmosphere of foreboding that seems infect the life of the convent.

Virginia Pearson (later Sister Agnes), suspicious of Margaret McGuigan’s (later Sister Catherine) role in all this, enters into a barely suppressed conflict with her through their religious training to their university course in 1962. The intrusion of Virginia Pearson’s former fiancé – and senior lecturer – into her life as Sister Agnes adds a serious unexpected problem. Dr Philip Stevenson is still in love with her. Her guilt over their breakup returns. She struggles to suppress her feelings for him and maintain distance. 

During this time, strikingly beautiful Aine, who has maintained contact with Virginia/Sister Agnes, has been lured into the world of fashion modelling by Jannie de Kam, also a former postulant. It is Jannie’s photographer Harry who proclaims her ‘stunning future’ in the fashion world. Aine now married with a little daughter and seemingly unaware of where personable handsome Harry is leading her, unwittingly plays a connecting role in the deepening conflict and the continuing mysteries that see Virginia and Aine each rushing towards a crisis.

The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism introduced in The Castle of Heavenly Bliss are further developed in In This Vale of Tears. The ideological conflicts of the 1960s form part of the background to the story.

Without changing the story, I have extensively revised In This Vale of Tears for the 2017 ebook and paperback editions . I have trimmed the text and corrected faults of style and language as pointed out by a number of readers who were otherwise generous in their comments. I have also made additions to the story to bring it into line with The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and to clarify the linkages and themes of the story. I am confident the revised edition presents a far more polished and engaging story.

Paperback available via this website A$31.95 incl. postage.
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Paperback US$21.99 plus postage available on Amazon

ebook available through Amazon, Smashwords



Writer … and still in the fifties