I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.
Finn and the Wild Goose is a lovely fantasy story for children.
Based on Irish folklore this is an exciting, poignant journey which I loved.
The story immerses the reader in Granda and Finn’s quest to find Evie. The writing style is lyrical and poetic, full of folklore and fantasy creatures, some good, some bad.
Woven seamlessly into the story are life messages. This is not just a children’s book. It made me cry, laugh and think. It has many layers and levels of understanding there’s something for everyone here.
I read the paperback which has lovely illustrations of the characters, and a glossary of Irish terms.
This is a magical tale of good and evil, not judging things by appearance, and the importance of love.
Sammy Horner is an Irish Musician, Recording Artist, Pastor, Author who spends all his time traveling around the world trying to make it all a little better. When he isn’t in remote parts of the world teaching life skills (practical trade skills, he is also an electrician and a qualified teacher) he tours with his wife Kylie as half of the Americana / Folk Duo, ‘The Sweet Sorrows’. He has two children and two grandchildren. Sammy lives in Wexford Ireland and occasionally gets to live in his own home for part of the year
When maverick police sergeant Jolly Macken is banished to the sleepy 1950s Irish border village of Blackwatertown, he vows to find the killer of his brother – even if the murderer is inside the police.
But a lot can happen in a week. Over seven days Macken falls in love, uncovers dark family secrets, accidentally starts a war and is hailed a hero and branded a traitor. When Blackwatertown explodes into violence, who can he trust?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The attitudes, traditions and violence of 1950s Ireland are all reflected in the first chapter of this thriller. What follows is an impactful and pacy exploration of Jolly Macken’s posting in Blackwatertown, a small border town in Ireland.
This historical noir crime novel immerses the reader in the Irish ‘troubles’. Interwoven into this adrenaline-fueled, poignant thriller are the sectarianism, split families, and the culture of silence. Humour lightens this often dark story.
Macken is an enigmatic, but relatable character. His flaws make him believable, and he earns the reader’s empathy.
Paul Waters is an award-winning BBC producer and co-presenter of the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, shortlisted for 2020 Books Podcast of the Year. Paul grew up in Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ and went on to report and produce for BBC TV and radio.
His claim to fame is making Pelé his dinner. Paul has covered US politics, created a G8 Summit in a South African township, gone undercover in Zimbabwe, conducted football crowds, reported from Swiss drug shooting-up rooms, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba and produced the World Service’s first live coverage of the 9/11 attacks on America.
He also taught in Poland, drove a cab in England, busked in Wales, was a night club cook in New York, designed computer systems in Dublin, presented podcasts for Germans and organised music festivals for beer drinkers. He lives in Buckinghamshire and has two children.
Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story. Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong? Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?
I received an audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.
Living the country dream in Ireland was how we left Nick and Lesley at the end of book 1. Book 2 details what life is like and the ups and downs of renovation. The honesty and humour are the unique selling point of this series. It’s not just the good bits it’s the bad bits too. There are many poignant events in this memoir that make the listener empathise.
For anyone who’s ever renovated their home, you’ll be agreeing with Nick’s observations and chuckling at the mistakes and the near disasters. Add in the peculiarities of an unfamiliar country and its a recipe for misunderstandings and subsequent laughter.
The animals are still front and centre in Nick’s life, and there are many anecdotes some hilarious, some sad in this story. What shines through is the sharing of a dream, the courage and the innate sense of humour of the storyteller and his wife.
I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment. The narration is first-class brings the characters to life.
Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs. In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.
TWO WOMEN HOLD THE KEYS TO HIS HEART. ONLY ONE WILL SURVIVE THAT FATEFUL NIGHT…
When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.
Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.
As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…
A sweeping, emotional historical romance set aboard the Titanic.
This is a revised and fully updated edition of a novel previously published as Titanic Rhapsody.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Ava, wrongly accused of theft by her employer, has no alternative but to run. She is an independent spirit, who knows there is more to life than being a servant. However, her religious upbringing, makes her constantly question her wilder impulses.
The Titanic, on its maiden voyage, calls at Queenstown, she buys a steerage ticket and heads towards what she hopes is a better future. Losing her ticket and being pursued by the authorities before the ship docks set the tone of the journey.
Serendipity means she finds a protector, in Buck, the second son of Duke and an irreverent gambler. He hides her in plain sight as a lady’s maid for his good friend Fiona, The Countess of Mayberry. She is travelling to New York to marry his friend Trey. The chemistry between Buck and Ava is instant and intense, but there are many conflicts to their relationship.
The plot twists dramatically when The Titanic meets its fate, and Ava makes a decision that affects the rest of her life. The setting is glamorous and, because you know what happens to the ship, there are undertones of suspense, wondering what will happen to the protagonists in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The romance is sizzling and forbidden and the characters are complex and relatable.
The last part of the book is full of conflict and romance, against the judgemental setting of New York society. The ending is romantic and shines a little light on such a tragic event.
Extract from The Runaway Girl Jina Bacarr
Cameron Bally Manor House
9 April 1912
‘Ava O’Reilly, you’re nothing but a common thief who brings shame upon this fine house,’ spewed Lord Emsy, wagging his fat finger in her face. ‘What have you to say for yourself, girl?’
‘A thief, am I, milord?’ Ava shot back, refusing to cower before a man so pompous and full of himself, even if he was her employer. With his wing tip collar and fancy silk ascot, he reminded her of a leg of lamb gussied up for Sunday dinner. ‘Says who? Your daughter?’ She narrowed her eyes, staring her accuser down. Lady Olivia greeted her angry look with a swift turning of the head, her nose in the air, but Ava wasn’t finished. ‘I’d rather dance with the devil than believe her.’
His lordship growled. ‘Then you deny stealing the bracelet?’
‘Aye, that I do.’ Ava smoothed down her shiny, black cotton uniform with her hands, making fists and fighting to keep her composure. Him with the glow of damnation in his eyes, accusing her like he was the Almighty Himself. She refused to back down. With the afternoon sun spilling an arc as bright as a pot o’ gold at her feet, she wondered how she, the daughter of a fine Irish mum and da, could be so unlucky. But here she was, accused of thievery because she was caught reading a book in a place where a housemaid had no right to be. The library. Now she was paying the price for her thirst for knowledge.
‘Well, how do you plead?’ asked his lordship.
‘I plead guilty to nothing more than reading your fine books.’
Ignoring her, Lord Emsy bellowed, ‘Then how do you explain this?’
He dangled a slender rope of sparkling diamonds in front of her nose, taking her breath away.
Ava swallowed hard. Each stone was a knot on the noose tightening around her neck.
‘I swear on me sainted mother’s grave, I never seen the likes of that till this morning.’
‘She’s lying, Papa,’ Lady Olivia decried. ‘She stole it from my jewel case and was trying to hide it when I caught her.’
Ava gritted her teeth. They both knew it was a lie.
Aye, what was a lass to do? His lordship’s daughter had hated her since Ava had first crossed paths with her, when she’d used the grand main staircase instead of scuttling down the backstairs. The breach of protocol had not only embarrassed the family, Lady Olivia scolded her, but Ava had attracted the eye of the young gentleman at her side. Lord Holm made no secret of his interest in the servant girl with the glorious red hair spilling down her back. Mary Dolores had warned her about him when Ava joined her sister to work as a housemaid in the grand manor.
A dandy, she had said, always ready to pat the bum of any servant girl he could get into a dark corner.
Did Ava listen to her? No. She was obstinate and bull-headed. A family trait, Mary Dolores admitted, shaking her head. Going through life casting her spell on every man caught looking at her. Ava paid them no mind, going about her way and insisting she didn’t need a man to better herself.
Unfortunately, Ava couldn’t control the wily fates determined to get in her way.
Her relationship with Lady Olivia became even more strained when Lord Holm saw her wearing a discarded dress belonging to her ladyship. Silk with delicate appliqué around the collar and cap sleeves, the vibrant emerald green set off her red hair.
And what was the crime in that, Ava wanted to know, since it was customary for servant girls to lay claim to their mistress’s tossed-away garments.
Her ears burned when she overheard her ladyship say to Lord Holm, ‘You never noticed when I wore that dress,’ to which he replied, ‘You never looked like that.’
His comment sealed her fate.
Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA. Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories.
Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?
I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.
I don’t do many audiobook reviews, but they are great, for someone like me. I can work on something else, whilst I’m enjoying the story someone is reading to me, it’s like being a child again, lovely.
This escape to the country, or strictly speaking escape the UK, is an interesting memoir. Full of life events affecting Nick and his wife, as they decide to give up the rat race and move to rural Ireland. I expected lots of life experiences and mishaps as the couple lived the dream in a rural idyll. Eventually, this is what you get, but first, there are many chapters, on how the couple got to this point in their lives. There are comical, poignant and interesting moments, in these early chapters, but this section could be much shorter and still provide a snapshot of life before Ireland.
The couple’s first trip to Ireland and their house search, introduces many colourful characters, lots of humorous moments and interesting facts on Ireland, the housing market and economy in the early twenty-first century.
The difficulty of buying a house in Ireland is surprising These events are retold in an upbeat humorous way, but you can appreciate how stressful this was for the author.
The dogs and chickens have fabulous personalities, and you can see how much they are part of the family. There are also some poignantly sad animal moments, which all of us, who share their lives with animal friends will empathise.
Life in Ireland is never boring, I loved the chapter where Nick moves in, on his own. His experience with the oil fired boiler reminded me of my own experiences with the same sort of boiler. Country living is not for the faint-hearted.
The memoir is authentic and honest. This is a realistic view of escaping the rat race, the problems are numerous, but the will to make the change, is stronger, and ultimately they succeed. This first book, on living the dream in rural Ireland, is factual, humorous, motivational and poignant The narrator is engagingly good, and the memoir flows well.I enjoyed my day listening to this.
Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant.
As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid-1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally.
After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited.
With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK- Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A heartwarming, serendipitous story, about Charlotte’s life and loves. At twenty-two, she meets the one, but there’s someone else in Tom’s life, and the love remains unrequited. The story continues with chance meetings, but life events force them apart.
Music is a recurrent theme in this story, reflecting life events and changes in emotions.
The romance is chequered, but Charlotte faces family tragedies and difficult decisions that shape her as a person. The impact of mental health issues on families is explored with sensitivity. The idea that our lives could be different if we’d made another choice is also a theme of this emotional story. As Charlotte matures and changes, as life events occur.
There is a strong sense of place in this story that grounds it, adds interest and give it authenticity. The characters are realistic and draw you into their world.
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…
Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.
Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.
Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.
Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.
Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A family saga set in Western Ireland. The setting is vivid and provides the perfect ethos for this story. Family secrets, love, lies, hardship, loss, and after much angst and drama, the light at the end of the tunnel, make this a poignant but ultimately satisfying story. This immersive read draws the reader into a quintessentially Irish way of life, with a solid plot, that showcases the spectrum of human emotions. Authentic, complex characters and a chance to escape into another world.
This is a story to be savoured, the pace is gentle and you get to know the characters well, both in the past and present. Not all of them are likeable, but this is a reflection of life, so you wouldn’t expect them to be.
The mill is the lifeblood of the community, a character on its own. It witnesses so much, over the years, and is the source of happiness, sadness, poverty and riches. The details of its running and historical significance give the book depth and make the story more believable.
A flowing family saga of life, love and lies, beautifully told.
Guest Post – Faith Hogan
Welcome to Ballycove….
I’m so delighted to visit Jane’s lovely blog today and to tell you about my new book – THE PLACE WE CALL HOME. If you’ve read my other books, you’ll know by now that I write uplifting stories, about friendship, family, secrets, lies and sometimes, there’s a little romance thrown in!
This time we visit Ballycove – it’s a village that appeared fleetingly in an earlier book – The Girl I Used To Know. I wanted to create a place that represented the best of the place I call home. I live in the west of Ireland – in a little town that sits on one of the richest salmon rivers in Europe. Just over half a dozen miles away, the Atlantic Ocean breathes up its icy air on flawless beaches and you can walk for miles without meeting a soul. On the other hand, if you’re feeling more social you can ramble with the dog through the nearby Beleek woods where everyone has time to say hello.
Ten miles in the opposite direction, there’s a small town called Foxford. It is a fairly typical little town in the west of Ireland, with the River Moy flowing through it, plenty of hills to walk across and local shops and restaurants that serve great food and offer Irish hospitality at its best. At the bottom of the town, sits the Foxford Wollen Mills. The Corrigan Mills are loosely based around these world-famous mills.
There are a number of differences, however – unlike the Foxford Mills which were built by a pioneering nun in response to the poverty she saw at the time; the Ballycove mills are a family-owned business.
And it is from this family business that the tension in the novel arises…
Still a young woman, Miranda Corrigan has found herself at the helm of the biggest employer in her locality – except that it looks like the mills will have to close. She must juggle raising her three children alone and saving the mills – it’s no wonder then that when the time approaches to hand them on she does so reluctantly since there appear to be no safe hands available to pass them onto.
The problem is that her children don’t agree and the divisions that are setting in between them all look as if they may never heal.
Until David Blair arrives in town and reader, I will not say she married him, but he proves to be the wild card that may just blow the whole family apart – or could he be the person who manages to bring them all together?
You’ll have to read it to find out for yourself…
Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has a Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
Izzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.
Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.
One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…
I received a copy of book from the author in return for an honest review.
A lovely family story, about believing in yourself and your dreams, and practice makes perfect.
Izzy regularly plays Gaelic football with her three brothers, and despite trying hard, is often on the losing side, which is frustrating and makes her unpopular with her teammate brother. Banished to her room, when she has a tantrum, she finds her grandmother’s bracelet, and then with a little magic, she sees what the future could be.
The characters are relatable, the adventure full of magic and motivation, and the illustrations follow the action beautifully. The introduction to Gaelic football is interesting, for those who are not familiar with it, and the story is pitched appropriately for the intended age group.
I read the electronic version of this, but the illustrations are clear and still enjoyable.
My name is Emma Larkin, and I am the founder of “Emma Larkin Books” and “Rebel in Kerry Press”. I have recently written and published my first book “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, and I hope to write many more books about Izzy and her adventures in sport. As may be evident from the name of my publishing imprint, I am a “Rebel in Kerry”! This means that I am originally from County Cork in Ireland, which is known as the Rebel County, but I moved to Kerry (another county in Ireland which neighbours Cork) in 2006 and have been happily living in Kerry since then, with my husband and four children. My husband is a Kerry native and we live in North Kerry, near Listowel, where my husband is from and is an area which is rich in literary history!
I have always enjoyed reading and
writing. Writing essays was my favourite part of primary school!
In my spare time, I love to run. I am very involved in my local park run in Listowel. I also coach ladies’ football at underage level with my local ladies’ football club and did attempt to play ladies football for a few years with my local “Gaelic4Mothers&Others Team”! I may not have been the greatest football player, but I could run! And it was an hour each week where I could exercise in a fun environment with a fantastic group of women, who I remain friends with to this day.
My inspiration to write this book was my grandmother, Maureen Hennebry, née Cashman. She was on the Cork camogie team which won the All-Ireland Camogie Championship three times in a row between 1939 and 1941. She came from a family rich in GAA history, the Cashman’s of Blackrock in Cork, and is even mentioned in the following poem by the famous Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh:
Camogie Match –Patrick Kavanagh 1905 – 1967
Bright shone the sunlight on Peggy and Doreen
Wild swung the ash sticks. Be careful astoreen;
Josie is getting into her stride now,
Kathleen is hurling with all her Cork
A shout from the side-line: Mark your
man, Kathleen Cody.
Kathleen pucks it. I tell you that puck was a dotie.
The game is exciting, it is indeed
Maureen Cashman is tackling the bold
Ide O’Kiely …
In hindsight, I am in awe of the fact
that my grandmother and her teammates played camogie at such a high level at a
time in Ireland, where a woman’s role was predominantly to be a wife and
homemaker. Which comes to my reason for writing this book, my grandmother was
my inspiration to write it, but my reason for writing it was to encourage all
young girls to play sports. It is crucial for our wellbeing and development and
we need to make it as normal for girls to play sport as it is for boys. The
growing popularity of women’s sports in Ireland and further afield is so
encouraging and we need to continue to develop this. As the current 20*20
campaign says, “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it”. I hope that my book can
in some way help to normalise girls playing football and that both boys and
girls will enjoy reading about Izzy’s adventures!
Visit the following websites for more information;
‘She reached into the pram and placed her hands on the cotton blanket. It was still warm. But her smiling, new baby sister, with her wide blue-grey eyes, was gone…’
Twenty-five years later, three bodies are found at a ramshackle cottage in the Irish countryside, and Detective Iris Locke is sick to her stomach. The victims are Anna Crowe and her two young children.
Iris has only recently joined the Limerick Murder Squad. Against her father’s advice, she’s working the narrow lanes and green hills of her childhood. Iris still remembers Anna, who was just a small girl when her baby sister was snatched, never to be seen again. It was the one case Iris’ own father never solved, and Iris can’t help but wonder if the two crimes are connected.
She’ll stop at nothing to find Anna justice, but a fire has destroyed almost all the physical evidence, and Limerick is the same small town she remembers: everybody protects their neighbours, and Iris has been away for too long.
Can Iris unpick the lies beneath the surface of her pretty hometown, and catch the most twisted individual of her career, when reopening the old case means reopening old wounds for her team, the rest of the community, and her own father?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
All the ingredients for a stunning police procedural, are in this first book of the Detective Iris Locke series. An ambitious, clever detective, an atmospheric authentic setting, believable characters and unexpected twists in the poignant case, they are investigating.
The tragic first event sets the scene for this story and draws you in, even though you can’t immediately see how it is connected to what follows. Iris is desperate to work in Murder, and she needs to prove herself. Hardworking, and likeable, she is not sure if she can fit in with the other detectives. There are some wonderful characters in this story, the detectives are recognisable, and avoid stereotypes. Even Slatterly, who is the closest to a stereotype has a reason for his behaviour that is eventually revealed, making him believable.
The investigation is well thought out, and interesting, lots of suspects, with the true reasons behind the crime hidden until the end. The twists are believable, and unexpected, especially towards the end, and everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. With the prospect of more investigations for Iris and the team
Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree in Training and Management from University College, Galway. She is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four contemporary fiction novels under the pen name Faith Hogan. Silent Night is her first crime novel, her second is due out in December 2019. She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Long ago, on a windswept Irish beach, a young
father died saving the life of another man’s child.
Thirty years later, his widow, Julia, decides to
return to this wild corner of Ireland to lay the past to rest. Her journey
sparks others: her daughter Bel, an artist, joins her mother in Ireland, while
son Matt and daughter-in-law Rachel, at home in Liverpool, embark on some
soul-searching of their own.
threads of past and present intertwine, Julia’s family confront long-buried
feelings of guilt, anger, fear and desire.
Only then can they allow the crashing waves of
the beach at Doonshean to bond them together once again.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A heroic, yet tragic event affects the emotional development of two families connected historically by the tragedy on Doonshean beach.mi
The quality that resonates from this story is the family’s dysfunction. Superficially, Julia’s family seems normal, but dig a little deeper and the cracks appear. The characters are believable because they are flawed, and in some cases unlikable.Ronnie’s family is also divided. Her sons left at the first opportunity, and never fulfilled her hopes for them. Especially, Tom. Despite his lucky escape, he doesn’t seem to be making the most of his life, but maybe things are about to change.
This story has a great deal of charm, its an easy, emotional read. Both families are affected by the past tragedy, now they are together again, will something positive emerge?
A story of coincidence, tragedy and family life.
Guest Post- Penny Feeny
All sorts of factors combine in the construction of a novel, little pieces that you put together bit by bit like a jigsaw. I usually begin with the location, somewhere that will transport me and my characters. My previous three novels were all set in Italy, which is instantly seductive – but other countries can be romantic too! I chose the Dingle peninsula in Ireland for The Beach at Doonshean, because it’s an area I know well and one that I love. No visitor can fail to be beguiled by its special magic: the wild unspoilt scenery, the gentle pace of life and the charm and friendliness of the Irish themselves. However, the starting point for the story was an event I’d heard about many years earlier.
A woman I knew (actually she was my landlady) had been widowed when her husband drowned saving the life of a child – leaving behind three children of his own. The horror of this tragedy made a strong impression on me, but there was curiosity too. What happened to the rescued child? What kind of adult did they become? Does knowing that your life has been saved give you an extra sense of responsibility? Is it a privilege or a burden? And what repercussions does such an act of heroism have on the people who come after? Do they feel they have to measure up? I can’t pretend I know the answers to these questions but I wanted to explore the possibilities and the likely effects on the two families involved. What if they came across each other several years later?
The Beach at Doonshean covers a period of ten days or so in the lives of the Wentworths and the Farrellys. Various members of each clan are already facing a personal turning point when circumstances throw them together again. Bel has had a health scare and is longing to fall in love, Rachael is doubting her ability to be a good mother, and Tom has suddenly acquired a child he didn’t know existed. I wanted to find a catalyst that would reflect the disruption they were all experiencing. The volcanic ash cloud of 2010 was a freak incident at the time and mostly forgotten now (there’ve since been so many other bizarre aircraft delays!) but for those caught up in the chaos, it had a significant impact. Flights were grounded for a week and the knock-on effects lasted for several days as people tried to get back to their homes and their normal lives. For my purposes, this created an ideal scenario in which Julia Wentworth, first widowed, then divorced and now newly retired, could set in motion a chain of events which would lead to much soul-searching in both families.
The action is set between Liverpool, which has undergone a wonderful renaissance since I first came to live here, and the beautiful windswept south-west of Ireland where we go on holiday regularly. County Kerry has a famously spectacular coastline and magnificent Atlantic beaches with endless stretches of golden sand; you can even catch the unforgettable sight of a shoal of dolphins leaping for their dinner. But my story needed a beach with a riptide – and one that was not too remote. It’s not often that you would deliberately seek out a danger spot, but Doonshean, just outside the little town of Dingle, fit the bill perfectly. I should add that there is only one section of the beach subject to the riptide, so there is absolutely no excuse not to visit and enjoy this wonderful corner of the world!
I hope you enjoy the book too!
Penny Feeny has lived and worked in Cambridge, London and Rome. Since settling in Liverpool many years ago she has been an arts administrator, editor, radio presenter, advice worker, and has brought up five children. Her short fiction has been widely published and broadcast and won several awards. Her first novel, That Summer in Ischia, was one of the Summer of 2011’s best selling titles.