Belfast Telegraph

52m reasons for Roma Downey to be happy as Trump hails book

By Claire McNeilly

Donald Trump has recommended Northern Ireland actress Roma Downey's new book to his millions of followers.

Box Of Butterflies by the Londonderry woman is one of only seven books that the US President has cited on his Twitter account as essential reading in what some American commentators have unofficially labelled 'The Donald's Book Club'.

Downey, also a successful producer, is one of only 46 people who Trump follows on the social media site, although he has nearly 52 million followers.

The title of the devout Christian's latest publication is a reference to her days as a young girl growing up in the Bogside in Derry, when she regarded the appearance of butterflies as a reminder of God's presence.

In the deeply personal, semi-autobiographical book, California-based Roma (58) shares stories from her life alongside inspiring quotes, poems, scripture and artwork.

Trump has been a friend of Downey's since he collaborated with her husband Mark Burnett in the US version of The Apprentice.

The controversial leader, however, is not expected to have the New York Times bestseller on his essential reading list, despite the strong endorsement of the wealthy mother-of-three, who first found fame in America as the star of TV series Touched By An Angel.

Indeed, there are deep suspicions within the US media that the 71-year-old rarely reads anything - including paperwork seen as essential to his role as President.

Last year the New York Times reported that the volatile tycoon had told his staff to keep White House policy documents to a single page with lots of graphics and maps.

And, when asked on Fox News about the last book he actually read from cover to cover, Trump replied: "It's been so long, because now I read passages. I read areas ... I read chapters; I would love to sit down and read a book, but I just don't have the time any more."

While promoting her new book, Downey described herself "as a girl whose childhood essentially ended at age 10 with the death of my home-maker mother Maureen, who suffered a heart attack aged just 48".

Her twice-widowed father Patrick, a mortgage adviser, passed away 10 years later.

"The trauma of losing my mother at such a young age totally shaped the woman I became," she said.

Such trauma is how one's character develops, she added, for the choice is to "lie down under it or step up and endure".

She added: "The book is, in part, a letter to mothers and mothers-to-be on how not to be overcome. Everyone is going to be touched by suffering."

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