Patricia Goodwin: Writer


Holy Days

"Holy Days, by Patricia Goodwin, is a difficult book. It is a novel that has the unmistakable feel of a memoir. Gloria Wisher is born into an Italian-American family in East Boston, where she feels loved and protected by her large, loving extended family. From this safe nest, she is uprooted when her immediate family moves to Revere, Boston's gritty suburb.

Moving is an uprooting experience for a child at best. Moving from a city to a suburb can be a cultural shock. Growing up an intelligent woman in a family that does not value education for girls is difficult. Becoming a woman during the 1960s was fraught with difficulties and clashes with parental mores and morals. But adding sexual abuse to the mix makes for a toxic environment, one that could easily destroy a young woman in so many ways.

So Holy Days is a triumphant novel at its heart. Goodwin describes the North Shore area, which Gloria explores as she grows old enough to do so, and immediately puts anyone old enough to remember the 60s right back there! There is a caution for the reader: That attractive young girl? The one who, with her girl friend in tow, is laughing and flirting, seemingly without a care in the world? She may be concealing the most shocking secrets - shameful things done to her in her home. And her reactions may be confused as she sometimes experiences pleasure as well as shame, and wonders if there is something wrong with her, if she somehow invites the abuse. .

Holy Days stands as a tribute to its author and to all the young girls who have managed to grow up strong despite hideous secrets in their pasts. “

Priscilla Herrington

Not an easy book to read. Life can beautiful and brutal, and so it is with this book. The writing is exquisite, and much of the subject matter is hard to take. If you read the whole thing, you're entitled to consider yourself brave, or at least tough. It must have been difficult to write.

It is still beautiful.


If Patricia Goodwin were a man, I would most probably not be writing this review. I would be reading it--in the NY Times, the LA times--there would be a possible movie deal. No need to add my name to the list.

But Holy Days , a poetic and sometimes difficult description of growing up in Revere, MA, could not be written by a man. It is a woman's coming of age story. A gifted, intelligent and beautiful woman, surrounded by depression, violence and rape. How she survives to achieve her dreams is worth knowing about as her many perpetrators die in the violent and depressing way that they lived.

It is, in my wide experience of books, a rare book. Why? Because most intelligent people can identify with the protagonist, but they would never be able to endure the environment in which she lives. A rough Jack Kerouac predictably writes Holy Days and continues the life he was born into. But Gloria Wisher cannot continue into poverty, disrespect, and abuse.

So this is a story of transformation or how one woman climbed out of the dark, dark places she endured, into a place of safety and light. It is a rare story because not many women can do what she did. Nor can they tell the story in the beautiful language of Ms. Goodwin. But unfortunately, every woman can relate to the abuse. And that's what makes this book worth reading.

Vishishta, CA

Just read your book, Holy Days in a marathon reading. I am from East Boston, moved to Revere…So much of your East Boston/Revere days resonated with me…We have had the same Catholic school and semi-poverty experience in our childhood/younger days and I became totally immersed in your book for two days while I read it…Your writing is beautiful and sensitive, but the raw facts and background are there. I wonder how many of our more privileged neighbors…realize that those are factual experiences and not "made-up." I will be buying your books of poetry because I think you will reveal even more of yourself and share more of your beautiful writing in poems. Why have I not known about your writing before? I have seen you many times in town and wondered why you looked so familiar. Now I know. Please keep writing.

Memories may haunt, but we must go on and enjoy life. Much success in your future writing.

Anonymous reviewer


"Dreamwater is the compelling second novel by Patricia Goodwin, which delves deep into the lives of several of the characters from her thriller, When Two Women Die…I found Dreamwater to be a well written gripping suspense that was difficult to put down. The story switches back and forth between past and present and Patricia Goodwin does an excellent job of keeping the story moving along in the transition so I never felt lost or confused.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of Dreamwater."

Beachbound Books See full review here.

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"Dreamwater is like nothing you've ever read before! It's unbelievable! Don't be fooled by the age of this kid, Ned Low! His story is intense! Pirates of the Caribbean meets American Psycho!"

- True Texan, Amazon review

"Dreamwater shows people at their best and at their worst in order to get to the truth."

- Judy Doane, retired dancer and teacher

"I'm a sucker for a villain who falls in love. Ned Low is only eleven, but he is BAD. It's romantic to watch this evil kid lose it for a lovely and good ten-year old girl. I know enough about history to know that eleven wasn't that young in the 17th Century. Kids had to step up to adult responsibilities a lot sooner that they do now. Ned falls in love but he stays evil. Some of the violence is pretty hard to take - AND it's historically accurate! But, Dreamwater is about so much more than the heinous acts of pirates. Ned's mother gets arrested for witchcraft because of her red hair and visits to the local psychic. It's painful to witness someone you know and love from the previous book being tried as a witch. I cried during the witch trail in this book. Plus - In 1995, Peter Treadwell is trying to get his life together after his wife's murder (in When Two Women Die, the original to this sequel) while his little girl is talking to her mother's ghost. Goodwin treats the paranormal like just another part of life…Goodwin weaves the past and modern and paranormal together in an amazingly real way. I loved Dreamwater! A lot of the characters are in love, so I'm going to call it romantic."

- Jay Revere, Amazon Review

"…done with a painterly skill."

- Vishishta, poet, author of Eros

""Beautiful writing, just beautiful."

- Dan Zampino, poet, sculptor, historian

"Patricia Goodwin's Dreamwater, heartily lives up to it's opening quote, "In my dream, I drank fully of water, but when I woke, I was thirsty." Indeed by the end, you do feel that you have been in a rare and highly detailed dream and it calls you, as dreams do, to relive and reread sections of it to realize, what indeed, was the water offered…"

- Vishishta, Amazon Review

When Two Women Die

"Goodwin establishes a strong undercurrent of tension and horror, which upsets the daily activities—breadmaking in the 17th century and filmmaking in the 20th—of this normally placid coastal town. Marblehead is a palpable presence here; Goodwin infuses the book with the maritime influences of the area without turning it into a travelogue. Supernatural elements, used sparingly but effectively, occur in both storylines. In one, a character has prophetic dreams, and in the other, a woman can see into the future.... a suspenseful book in which both stories hurtle to their tragic conclusions."

- Kirkus Review, Read full review


"Patricia Goodwin has a gift for captivating readers leaving them yearning for more. As the story transitions from 1690 to 1991 the similarities in events become pronounced and send chills down your spine. I really enjoyed When Two Women Die and definitely recommend picking up a copy."

- Stacie Theis, BeachBound Books

From Readers

"I couldn't put the book down! I loved the language of the 17th Century and I loved the way the author recreated life during those times…Towards the end, I had to skip ahead and find out what happened on that sailboat. I couldn't wait any longer!"

- Angela Masciale, nurse

"I read the book while I was on vacation. I couldn't put it down... I woke up the next morning and when I could have slept in, I got up and finished it!"

- Joan Levine, Health Care Administrator

"Patricia Goodwin has written an old town tale as beautiful and ruthless as the sea."

- Judy Doane, retired dancer and teacher

"From the apotheosis of the local 17th Century shaman to his 20th Century counterpart's town-wide revulsion, the screaming woman on the beach at midnight, the actions of the boy Ned Low - in my opinion the most evil character in the book - to the frantic husband's search for his wife around Marblehead Harbor all add to a mash-up of 17th and 20th Century Gothic horror with the twists and turns of a Hitchcock film."

- Lee Eric Freedman, poet

"As a former Boston resident who spent many summer days in Marblehead, I was so pleased to read this very well written historical thriller by Patricia Goodwin. With her usual high integrity and excellent style, Ms. Goodwin carefully recreated the odd dialect used in Marblehead in early times and painted a clear picture of the life of women caring for their families. This, juxtaposed against modern times shows the change in language but not necessarily a change in sociology or behavior! Using the vehicle of two murders, Ms. Goodwin artfully crafted the emotions of fear, grief, madness and love which make a murder mystery powerful and gripping. Don't fail to notice the delicate description of the houses and flowers in this beautiful place. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery coupled with some accurate history."

- Vishishta, astrologer

"Great characters! The nine year old boy in 1690 who grows up to be the famous pirate, Ned Low is disturbing. I never thought about what a pirate was like as a kid, but this kid is starting young. Beautiful descriptions of seacoast life, whether pirates and fishermen of the past or modern yachtsmen, lobstermen and sailors. The psychics who try to intervene are fascinating - the wise old man and his descendent, the confused, eccentric young woman! A lot of fun to read!"

- Tim, automobile entrepreneur