One hundred years of secrets.
A sweeping novel of love, loss, family and history for readers who love Maggie O’Farrell, John Boyne and Donal Ryan
Ireland is about to be torn apart by the War of Independence.
Hannah O’Donovan helps her father hide rebel soldiers in the attic, putting her family in great danger from the British soldiers who roam the countryside. An immediate connection between Hannah and O’Riada, the leader of this hidden band of rebels, will change her life and that of her family forever . . .
Ellen is at a crossroads: her marriage is in trouble, her career is over and she’s grieving the loss of a baby. After years in London, she decides to come home to Ireland to face the things she’s tried so hard to escape. Reaching into the past, she feels a connection to her ancestor, the mysterious Hannah O’Donovan. But why won’t anyone in her family talk about Hannah? And how can this journey help Ellen put her life back together?
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This is the type of book that I absolutely love! A dual timeline story seeped in interesting history and some fabulous characters makes it a perfect read for me.
The story follows Hannah in 1919 who helps her father fight for Irish independence and Ellen in 2019 who is struggling with life and wants to try and work through her problems by visiting her ancestry. Although both stories were interesting I did prefer Hannah’s story as she was the fiesty, independent character that I love to read about. Her guts and determination to fight for her family’s beliefs was wonderful to read about. I was completely on her side and really wanted there to be a good outcome for her and her family. That’s not to say Ellen’s story wasn’t interesting I just found it a little slower paced than Hannah’s and I didn’t take to her as a character straight away, finding her a little depressing. However I did warm to her as the story continued and it was very interesting to see her investigation into her past develop.
The author has a fabulous way of setting the scene for this book so that the reader can really picture it in their minds eye. The wonderfully vivid pictures of the Irish countryside along with the Irish language really helped to bring the setting to life for me. I sadly don’t know much about The War of Independence so I found the historical details very fascinating. The courage and bravery of the Irish people was wonderful to read about making what happens all the more poignant.
The story is quite fast paced and very absorbing. I found myself staying up to read a few more chapters of the book fully emersed in what was happening. The author shows great skill in weaving a fabulous story of war, bravery and ultimately betrayal which takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It’s a story I felt very sad to have finished.
This is the first book by this author I have read and I really look forward to reading more from her in the future. If you like gripping, dual timeline historical fiction then you’ll love this book.
Huge thanks to Quercus for my copy of this book via Netgalley and to Ana from Quercus for inviting me onto the blog tour.
About The Author:
Jacqueline O’Mahony is from, Cork, Ireland. She did her BA in Ireland, her MA at the University of Bologna, and her PhD in History as a Fulbright Scholar at Duke University, and at Boston College. She has worked as a writer, editor and stylist at Tatler, Vogue and the Irish Independent.
She lives in Notting Hill with her husband and three young children.