The Bradley family are devout Mormons. Their faith is unquestionable as they conduct their lives by the teachings of the church. Ian Bradley is not only the head of the family but is the Bishop in his local area; his wife Claire regularly sees the church put before his family but that is the way of the religion. God comes first. However, when the unthinkable happens within the Bradley family everyone’s faith is put to the test.
Reading about religion will forever be an eye opener especially in modern society when for most religion has been reduced to special occasions and faith is not practised as much as it once was. In A Song For Issy Bradley, Carys Bray presents a story of fervent faith within the modern family and has focused on the Mormon religion which in itself is a fascinating topic but when structured around a fictional text very much becomes the foundation for its characters.
Bray handled the difficult subject of child death with dignity and heart. Her narrative is beautiful as she undresses the emotions that Claire was feels through the loss of a child. It is heartbreaking to read but absolutely necessary to see her crumble under the sheer pain and how her grief snowballs on to the rest of the family.
The familial roles significantly change yet the traditional roles that are expected within the religion remain i.e. the eldest child (and daughter) Zippy takes on the housekeeping responsibilities because it as expected. Ian tries to hold it all together as not only his wife falls apart but as he deals with his own grief and tries to remain faithful to his religious beliefs that everything happens for a greater purpose. His son Al, who has always been a loose cannon continues to misbehave and tries to mask his grief with humour and youngest son Jacob sticks fervently to his belief that his younger sister will be returned to him.
A Song For Issy Bradley is beautiful. There is no other word for it. Bray shines through as a new voice to look out for.
A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray is available now.