The Singing of Swans tells the story of Madalene Ross, a thirty-year-old American who "lives in her head," cut off from her body, her heart, and her sense of purpose in the world. En route to and from her job as a computer programmer in Minneapolis, Madalene is hounded on the downtown streets by a homeless woman who asks "Got a match?" At night bizarre dreams haunt her sleep. Women fly through rooftops, chant in ancient temples, paint tongues of fire on vivid white canvases.
Madalene's story is interwoven with the lives of three women: Rosalina, a priestess of Persephone in 70 B.C.E. Sicily; Ziza, a strega (Italian witch) in 16th century northeastern Italy, and Ibla, an herbalist and painter in 18th century southern Italy. Sicily's Lake Pergusa and the Black Madonna also act as a portal to the rich tradition of pre-Christian spirituality that lies beneath Church dogma.
The Singing of Swans takes readers on a multi-century journey to uncover long-silenced traditions, crack Madalene's spiritual code and reclaim her soul. Elements of magical realism dovetail with historical storytelling as this compelling tale of redemption unfolds.
"The Singing of Swans is a remarkable narrative calling -- even compelling -- us to connect with our own ancestral roots, to seek our own inner wisdom, and to reclaim, our own inner voices," says Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar & Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile.
"The Roman poet Ovid sang of the beautiful Sicilian lake where Persephone descended to the otherworld -- a lake now dying from overdevelopment," says Patricia Monaghan, author of The Goddess Path and The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog. "No siren's song could be more commanding than this novel centered on that magical lake. Generations of women of the streghe tradition -- call them pagans, call them witches -- join their voices in this tightly wrought magical chorus."