Breathing Water

A novel about learning to live with what life gives you

There was no question Colleen O’Byrne had lousy parents, one alcoholic and the other schizophrenic.  With her temper and independent streak, Colleen’s pious Irish Catholic family didn’t expect much from her except pregnancy out of wedlock.  Young ladies in 1950s Brooklyn were supposed to be demure, obedient and remain chaste until marriage, no matter how hard their date pushed.  Colleen had other plans—to create her own reality with a loving family and a perfect husband. 

Colleen was adamant she wouldn’t date charming and fast Tony Nicollini, but eventually love prevailed, they wed and Colleen anticipated her “Happily Ever After.”   Motherhood and marriage turned out to be complicated and Colleen struggled with continuously changing expectations for middle-class American women.  Women’s liberation, the sexual revolution, a crippling recession and the need to re-enter the workforce challenged Colleen’s ideals of home and family.  When Colleen faced a crisis within her marriage, she was forced to confront her dysfunctional childhood to take charge of her own future at last.