eBook: 674KB, Paperback has 296 pages.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Publisher: Font Publications (16 Dec 2011).
Source: The author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
First Sentence: The thick double door beneath the sign - Parle's Bar and Grocery - is shut.
Review Quote: SUNDAY INDEPENDENT: "One is immersed in this epic story immediately and effortlessly... The main characters are so well-drawn that you feel you have heard about them in your own life. The novel's strength is that it puts culpable, fragile flesh and blood - lots of blood - on a defining moment in Irish history... Of particular delight are the many unexpected twists and turns. When you think you've figured out the secrets, you may have got it all wrong. Orna Ross has written a highly ambitious, engaging and evocative novel and a hauntingly captivating read."
My Opinion: Flowing and expressive.
This novel was Orna Ross's début, originally published with the sequel as 'Lovers' Hollow' by Penguin in 2006. The title has recently been reissued by the author. It is the first time I have read anything by Orna Ross and I feel very guilty that it has taken me so long to read and review 'After The Rising' and the sequel 'Before The Fall' which I read immediately after this one, so will publish the reviews simultaneously. The author was kind enough to provide copies for My Kindle via Amazon a long time ago. A problem I do find with eBooks is that they can easily get lost amongst the many other titles, a case of out of sight out of mind! I must be more careful in future.
The titles mentioned are I and II of an Irish Trilogy and I will certainly be hoping to read the final volume one day, I learnt so much about Irish history following the trials and tribulations of the Mucknamore families.
What a wonderful name for a village, Mucknamore, a fictional village set in the Wexford countryside of Ireland, but the events that took place were real events in Ireland's history. The female protagonist is Jo Devereux who has returned home to Ireland after twenty years away to attend her mother's funeral. Through dealing with her mother's affairs after her death, she finds herself coming into contact with Rory O'Donovan, a man she had a teenage love affair with. Probably the only man she ever truly loved but he is now married. A conflict between their families split them up and she fled to the USA.
Now though back in Ireland reading the family history that her mother has left to Jo, she discovers some surprising truths about her mother and grandmother. She learns about the role of the women in the Irish Civil War of 1923 and about a mysterious incident involving the death of Rory's uncle in the same war. It is these events that have caused on going conflict between the families continuing with each new generation. Probing for the truth Jo is astonished by the similarity to her own life where she has endeavoured to balance love and freedom. What will happen between her and Rory, if anything and how will learning about the past impinge upon her decisions? If you want to find out you will have to read the book.
Written in a flowing expressive style this story left me knowing more than I did about Irish history and looking forward to reading the third title in the trilogy, recommended to fans of historical fiction.
Orna has been published by Attic Press and Penguin, but she now publishes her own work. She is founding author & Director at 'The Alliance of Independent Authors', for which she has been named "one of the 100 most influential people in publishing" by The Bookseller magazine.
ORNA SAYS: (Reproduced from her Amazon Profile)
"My NOVELS usually take the form of family-based dramas. Often they are historical fiction and usually there's a murder mystery or other buried secret from the past causing chaos in the present. I enjoy writing emotional twists and surprises around big themes -- identity, family loyalty, truth, sex and death, the struggle between freedom and belonging.
My POEMS are simple and accessible and tend towards the inspirational. I think everyone should read a poem a day (keep a poetry book in the bathroom is my advice).
My NONFICTION is about applying the creative process to everything in life. We've all been educated to neglect our creative capacities -- a big mistake, as the Creative Age overtakes the Information Age. Thankfully, like any other muscle, creative ability is strengthened by being flexed and used. The 'Go Creative!' books show how to become more creative.
ORNA'S INSPIRATIONS: (Reproduced from her Amazon Profile)
1: HISTORY: I agree with Mr Hartley that the past is, indeed, another country and it's my favourite place to travel -- reading and writing historical fiction is my favourite thing to do. I'm especially drawn to bohemian times and places where shackles are thrown off and creativity flourishes -- fin de siecle Paris (1890s); literary revival and revolutionary Ireland (1910/20s); hippy (1960s) and gay lib (1980s) San Francisco...
2: GENDER: I write the kind of women's fiction that explores what it is to be a woman, in various times and places. But I think both men and women have feminine and masculine dimensions. We are all seeded by man and born of woman and we all carry 'male' and 'female' characteristics. How these play out, in an individual life and in different societies, is endlessly fascinating to me.
3: IRELAND: I don't only write about Ireland but it is a strong influence. Because so many millions have emigrated from there, its stories reach beyond its own shores. There is always a particular flavour to Irish writing and readers tell me they experience in my books too.
4: THE SEA: Everything I really needed to know, I could have learned by watching the waves.
5: THE SPACE BETWEEN THE WORDS. About which the less said, the better.
How Orna got her writing name and more interesting biographical details can be found in the about me section on her website.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Author Goodreads Profile Orna Ross - Twitter Profile Amazon Author Page - Orna Ross
Orna Ross - Official Author Website Orna Ross - Google Plus