Burdened with the feeling that it would not survive for long, Irish author Nicola Kearns wanted to immortalise Dwejra's Azure Window in her upcoming novel.
Called The Azure Window, the book, which will soon go to print, is a follow-up to another one, also based in Malta, she had written to capture the Maltese resilience during the war after realising it rarely featured in novels.
She had told this newspaper in 2015 that a lot of research and help from several groups in Malta, including the Mtarfa Military Hospital Historical Group and the Malta World War II Living History Group, had gone into the publication of Under a Maltese Sky.
Since then, Ms Kearns has been twice to Malta and, on one occasion, while visiting Ta’ Pinu, she decided to stop by the Azure Window.
“I had such a feeling of love for it that I wanted to call my novel after it. I somehow sensed a sadness while I was there that it was not to survive for long. I felt I wanted to capture it,” she told this newspaper after learning of its collapse.
I somehow sensed a sadness while I was there that it was not to survive for long
In her novel, the landmark is mentioned several times, with a particular event happening on site and being brought up poignantly throughout the book.
Spanning over 60 years – from an island torn apart in World War II to what is now a tourist’s paradise – the novel intertwined three separate love stories from three generations of women who, like the Azure Window, were “beautiful, fragile and enigmatic”, Ms Kearns said.
In the book, primarily set in Malta in present times, Jessy McGuill is on a search for her grandfather, William Cortis, a former Maltese pilot who fought here during World War II.
She becomes drawn into the past and the life of not just her mother, Maria McGuill, whom she never knew, but also the true story of her grandmother Ana’s endurance as she struggles to survive amidst severe loss and heartache during the war.
Jessy, like her grandmother before her, also finds love with a Maltese man, until her grandfather arrives on the island, with a young man in tow.
This will be the first novel she will be publishing in Malta following the successful sale of her first novel here.