Consequences of the Heart
“Mine is a tale of great love.” So begins the memoir of Charles “Chud” Church, (1922-1999). Set in the fictional town of Monument, Ireland, it is indeed a tale of love, of a complex ménage à trois involving lifelong friends: wild and impetuous Chud, in love since childhood with Rosa, the beautiful, decisive daughter of the town bookmaker, and Jack, mild-tempered heir to the Santry estate. Chud is the third wheel in Jack and Rosa’s relationship. Nonetheless the three are inseparable.
Foul play and certain disgrace curtail the trio’s rendezvous, and each is sent away from Monument. Time passes and the war with Germany becomes a certainty. Jack and Chud find themselves on the same landing beach on June 6, 1944. Here their lives take yet another momentous turn. After the war, they will return to Monument where Jack will marry Rosa – the result of a coin toss with Chud – and the three take up where they left off, stoking smoldering flames of ire and revenge in certain of the townspeople. The crucible explodes in a hilariously ironic penultimate scene – which I won’t spoil. The ending itself is wonderfully tantalizing.
The characters are the best part of this remarkable story. Nothing is missing in complexity and shading. The three-way relationship is a true study in codependency and narcissism. Still the characters are likeable and worth caring about. Consequences of the Heart is much more than a love story; it is a finely woven and lyrical reflection on human nature.
A great book. Two (or more) thumbs up!