– from The Bridge Weekly, Bethlehem, New Hampshire,  June 16, 2011

Curling up with a good book and a cup of tea is one of life’s simple and satisfying pleasures. Even better is being able to meet the author of a “really good read.” Lois Mathieu, the author of ‘Debut, Song for My Birth Mother” will be at the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 18, for a Tea & Book Signing. The public is invited to meet the author, who set part of her new novel in Bethlehem, and enjoy refreshments and conversation. The free event is part of the Fields of Lupine Festival.

“Debut, Song for My birth Mother” is the story of a mother and child whose bond is broken when the mother gives her child up for adoption. The two live much of their lives secretly yearning for each other. More than 20 years pass before they meet and come to realize how deeply they have both suffered from their irrevocable loss.

As in any good book, the plot reveals the challenges and obstacles the characters must confront: the birth mom, a New Hampshire girl bound for college, who gives up her first born, and goes on to marry and have three more children, but remains burdened by sorrow and guilt for giving up her first child; the adoptive parents who assume that unconditional love for their daughter is sufficient to keep her from opening the door to the past; and the adoptive child who wonders about her biological heritage when her extraordinary singing voice becomes evident. The novel opens when she is preparing for her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House and is also hoping to receive a reply letter from her birth mother, after having contacted the adoption agency.

Mathieu chose Bethlehem as the home of the birth mother for two reasons. “The name evokes the feeling that something special will take place,” she says, “and I wanted the birth mother character to live in a White Mountains town, in a rural community that would rub against the sophisticated lifestyle of Manhattan and Westchester County. I had a feel for the rural northern New Hampshire setting because my husband and I had hiked the White Mountains on numerous occasions many summers ago. I was not familiar with Bethlehem, but when I discovered its remarkable history I felt that Bethlehem had chosen “Debut, Song for My Birth Mother.”