Sophie Hawkins has a unique gift.
Born illiegitimately in a poor fishing village in the 1950s, she is now set to be consecrated the first woman Anglican bishop in Newfoundland's Eastern Diocese. Sophie's mother, Lety, died when Sophie was too young to remember her. As a result, the little girl was left to be raised by a cruel grandmother, an abusive minister, and the sadistic overseers of a prison-like orphanage. Under the pressures of a difficult adolescence, her psychic talents emerge not as a blessing, but a curse that leads to a breakdown.
Sophie's survival depends on learning to control her abilities and to confront other traumatic events from her childhood. She turns to psychiatrist Griffon Fairbourne who helps her make sense of her powers and inspires her to enter the priesthood. Along with classmate Noah Lodge, Sophie is sent to isolated western Newfoundland as a hospital chaplain where her gift reemerges when she senses imminent danger posed by recent activity on the hospital's fourth floor that decades earlier housed an insane asylum.
Lety's Gift is a mystery, a love story, and above all, a tale of triumph.
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The thunder crackled, echoing through the clouds. Electricity bounded from cell to cell. The howl of the wind rattled the windowpane, and when it stopped, hail drummed the glass erratically. Granny Ivy looked out from her rocking chair and then returned to her knitting, paying little attention to the low groans from the bed just a few meters away.
“That’s it, Lety, blows yer air out slowly. It’ll pass,” she said, not once taking her eyes off her half-finished sweater.
Light flashed across the dimly lit ceiling, and the two women froze, waiting for the assault. They were rewarded by a crash that mimicked a giant wave not far from their doorstep.
“I can’t take it,” Ivy finally said, rising from her chair. “It's getting chilly in here. I'm stokin' the fire to see if I can get more heat from it. Hell if I
wants to go out fer more wood in this weather. Can I get another blanket fer you, Lety?”
Lety released a moan, low and gravelly, like it came from the deep pit of her huge belly.
“Now don’t be goin’ on, girl. You gots yerself into this muddle. I knows yer mother warned you not to. All them sailors got one, and had you used yer brains and taken a look at one of ‘em, you would have throwed IT back at ‘em. ‘Stead, you let ‘em jig you like you was a fish, and they maked you sick. I knows Ester told you ‘bout what those sailors always have in mind—can’t wait to come on shore and take IT out. Why Ester didn’t give you the polly pitchum or saffron or somethin’ else that makes you well again, I don’t know.”
Lety screamed. Ivy stood there and waited until the contraction ended. Then she walked over to wipe Lety’s face.
“There, there, Lety darlin’. I knows you thinks you loved him, but he’s gone now. What was his name again? Jasper? Jason? Jackoff? Damn! If his ship ain’t gone down, he’s in another port by now not even ‘memberin’ yer name and tryin’ to use IT on some other fool girl."
Lety grabbed Ivy’s hand, vivid crimson assaulting the young woman’s fat cheeks.
“Don’t push yet, Lety! I’ll stop talkin’ ‘bout him if you
promises to breathe. There I stopped,” she said, zipping her lips.
And so the evening went on. Water crashed over the rocks and barely retreated before surging forward again. Ice rained in from the sea, pelting the side of the house.
Some time before morning, a nearby building burst into an angry fire. Ivy stood at the window reporting the progress of the flames to Lety who wriggled uncomfortably on the bed.
“Ooh! I can’t believe there can be such a fire in this storm. I wonders what Fergus was storin’ in his fishin’ hut, Lety, that would make the flames so tall. I’ll bet it’s not fuel fer his boat he gots in there. More like he’s storin’ his moonshine can. Damn fool! Won’t last long, I’m sure. Nothin’ can last long in this weather. It’d surprise me if that fire is lastin’ longer than a quarter hour. I just hopes Fergus didn’t lunch on his store and dwall off in his shed.”
Lety wailed so loud she rivaled the howl of the winds.
Ivy stooped over the end of the bed and peered under the blanket. “Nearly there, Lety. But I don’t want you pushin’ just yet. Gives me a minute to heat up some tea so I’ll have the strength.”
But Lety started to push anyway. An hour later, Lety was still pushing. Ivy kneeled by the woman’s head and pressed down on her swollen belly.
“Bore up! You gots to push harder, girl. That baby ain’t gonna jump out of you. You gots to make him come out!”
Lety puffed out a long sigh.
“Where do you think yer goin’, Lety? You still haven’t got that baby out. I knows you ain’t no noody nawdy and won’t go nowhere so that I’m the only one here fer the next ‘traction,” Ivycounseled, sitting back and beginning to worry for the first
time that night.
Ivy got off the bed and began to tug at Lety’s arm. “Come on, girl," she
said, her voice shaking. “You gots to get out of this bed and do some of the work.” Once she had Lety on her feet, she continued to yell. “Now coopy down! I’ll hold you so you don’t fall. You gots the pain now?”
Lety began to scream.
“Don’t scream! That blows the pressure out in the air. You gots to get that pressure buildin’ up inside. Now PUSH!”