Maggie St. Claire
Independently Published (2019)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (12/19)
“Martha” by Maggie St. Claire is Ms. St. Claire’s first fictional novel. About an older woman named Martha, the story explores her life and how Martha must confront the unpleasant parts and memories that she has been both hiding and living through. Martha is not a well-off woman, the fact that she must frequently get her food from the food bank, crash wedding receptions to eat a nice dinner, and has been known to sneak a few items here and there from various places should be a good indication of her wealth status. As a child, Martha had a rough upbringing, so was taught to fend for herself and to make the most of any situation. With that in mind, it isn’t much of a surprise that right off the bat, Martha gets herself into a situation where she must decide where her moral compass points. Later, she is asked by her minister to help out a troubled girl with everyday things. Already having a son, Martha knows what it is like to raise a child but having had her son out of the house for many years, and not the best relationship, she must relearn how to care for someone else and to let others into her life. With many secrets, this is difficult for Martha, and unfortunately by helping out this girl, she will be bringing more trouble upon herself than she can imagine.
“Martha” was a fun read, but also one that won’t make you feel all warm and happy throughout the story. “Martha” is more a “real” book, showing real issues that happen among the elderly in our society, happening to her. The issue of poverty and money in general is a large topic for both Martha and many elderlies. For Martha, not having enough money after social security and retirement make her feel like she is justified for her actions, even though there should be another way of living life for her.
Very prideful, Martha doesn’t let her guard down and show who she really is, which was hard for me to read as her audience because I know she should drop her pride and live like she can afford. St. Claire wrote Martha’s character very well and believable, even if the reader wouldn’t have chosen the same actions as she did. The suspense, emotions, and happenings from the characters make you feel like you are there and can relate. The characters range in ages from early adult to people in their seventies, displaying actions from innocence to betrayal, allowing the reader to have a better chance of identifying with the age or deed. I would recommend “Martha” for those who find stories about secrets, betrayal, and the overall survival of life enjoyable.