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About Jean Grainger
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.
WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR'S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE
'Warm and wise, reading a Jean Grainger novel is like sitting in the kitchen of a friend. Her authentic writing welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.' Kate Kerrigan, NYT Bestselling Author.
'In the same magical tradition as classic Irish storytellers, Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt, Jean Grainger transports the reader into a world where the characters not only come alive, but become friends, who stay with you long after you've closed the last page. I have no doubt that Jean Grainger will be considered one of the finest historical novelists of our time.' Roberta Kagan, Bestselling author of 'All My Love, Detrick' series.
Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you're wondering what you're getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have 'The Talking Spoon', only the person holding the spoon could talk!
I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world's smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..
My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, 'The Tour'. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It's a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.
The sequel to The Tour, called Safe at the Edge of the World, follows Conor O'Shea once again as he takes another motley crew on a tour of Ireland. This time with a very odd couple aboard who seem to be hiding something.
The third Tour book in that series is called The Story of Grenville King and in it Conor gets an opportunity to renovate and run an old castle as a five star resort, but something isn't quite right, and the castle has many secrets.
The fourth Conor O'Shea book is called The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary and features a group of friends taking their friend Bubbles home to Ireland from New York, on last time. The next book is based on a chance conversation with a friend about the reality of DNA testing and the truths it might revel unwittingly. It's called Finding Billie Romano and the sixth book finds Conor and his pals in dire financial straits and the only life line is a reality TV show in the castle, something Conor hates the idea of but needs must!
My first World War 2 novel, 'So Much Owed' is a family saga based in Ireland following the Buckley family of Dunderrig House. The story opens in the trenches of WW1 at the end of the war and moves to tranquil West Cork. As the next generation of the Buckley family find themselves embroiled once again in war, the action moves from Ireland to wartime Belfast, from occupied France to the inner sanctum of German society in neutral Dublin. The history of the period was my academic specialty so I'm delighted to be able to use it in a work of fiction.
Shadow of a Century, is set in New York in 2015 as well as in Dublin during the events of Easter Week 1916, where Irish men and women fought valiantly to rid our island of British Imperialism. While not my academic specialty, I loved researching this book. My husband, most fortunately for me is an expert on this era and so I didn't have to go too far for assistance. The story features three very strong women, united through a battered old flag. Its essentially a love story, but with a bit of intrigue thrown in for good measure.
Under Heaven's Shining Stars, was published in 2016 and is set in my home city of Cork. This time its against the backdrop of 1950s and 60s Ireland and it really is a book about friendship, family and the Catholic church. I have a deep personal affinity with all of my characters but this book is especially close to my heart.
A book I wrote while travelling with my family for a year in Australia is called Sisters of the Southern Cross and don't forget to read the afterword on that one as to how that story came about, its a tale stranger than fiction in its own right!
I wrote a novel called Letters of Freedom after hearing a woman on the radio one day explaining how being raised in state care prepared a person so poorly for the realities of independent living. Her story was so moving I was inspired to write a short novella there and then.
Carmel's story really seemed to touch people, and I got such a huge reaction from readers all over the world, many of them telling me the most extraordinary stories from their own lives, I wrote a sequel. The Future's Not Ours To See, which follows Carmel as she ventures forth into a world she knows so little of is out now. The third Carmel and Sharif book, What Will be, is also available and it finishes the story of this woman who spent her entire childhood believing something that wasn't true. She returns to Ireland, very reluctantly and discovers that in order to go forward she has to first make peace with her past.
My next series, The Robinswood Story, opens with What Once Was True, and tells the story of a big old house in Co Waterford during WW2. Two families live there, the impoverished Keneficks who own it and the hard-working Murphys who work for them. Life has remained unchanged for centuries but when war comes, it means everything changes and people have to question what once was true. This book was selected by Bookbub readers as in the top 19 Historical Fiction books of 2018. The sequel to this, Return to Robinswood, continues the story and the final instalment, Trials and Tribulations takes it to it's conclusion.
The Star and the Shamrock, the Emerald Horizon, The Hard Way Home and The World Starts Anew is a series of four books about two little German Jewish children who find themselves on the Kindertransport out of Berlin. They end up in Northern Ireland and it was a real labour of love. The research was harrowing at times, but I hope I've done justice to the stories of so many children who escaped the Nazi terror, often never again to see their parents. This is a book of hope in dark times, of the enduring power of love and the incredible resilience of the human spirit.
My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West's Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I'm currently writing book four.
Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that's wonderful for me to hear because that's how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I'm very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don't, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.
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Books By Jean Grainger
A charming Irish bus driver. A group of misfit American tourists. One life changing week for everyone on board.
USA Today Bestselling author Jean Grainger wants to take you to Ireland.
Guide Conor O’Shea has given hundreds of tours, and doesn’t expect this one to be any different, taking take a bus full of strangers through Ireland’s most colorful and iconic locations.
The passengers couldn’t be more different—a Wall Street banker, a man-hunting serial divorcee, a love-hungry cop and a very old lady with an incredible secret—but each wants something, and they all have something to hide.
Conor’s avoided conflict his whole life, but with every stop, his passengers uncover secrets and face truths that will change their lives.
Can Conor continue to watch from the sidelines? Or is he brave enough to face his own problems?
Witty, informative, and with a touch of romance, The Tour is as colourful and turbulent as the wild Atlantic coast. You’ll get an insider look at one of the world’s most beautiful places, as you take a tour you’ll never forget as you navigate the stunning vistas of gorgeous Ireland along with the hearts and minds of a cast of characters who will live with you, long after you've finished the last page.
Can you afford to miss the trip of a lifetime?
Kilteegan Bridge, County Cork 1958
For eighteen year old Lena O'Sullivan, life is predictable and dull. A future of hard work, marriage to a local boy, and a family of her own one day is all she has to look forward to. People from her background know not to expect too much, but Lena yearns for something different.
Malachy Berger was different, for him, the world is at his feet. An only child of a wealthy, if peculiar father, a large inheritance, a beautiful house and a fine education are his due.
Nobody is in favour of Lena and Malachy’s friendship, but why not? What harm are they doing? Why is everyone so dead set against it?
Then fate takes a hand, and Lena realises that secrets and lies have bound her and Malachy in an impossible situation. And their future seems determined by events that happened long before they were born.
From rural Ireland to post-war Cardiff, Lena and Malachy’s story winds its way back to wartime Germany and occupied France in a web of deceit that threatens to destroy them both.
Robinswood Estate, County Waterford, Ireland. 1939
Life in a stately home is never as it seems, and this is certainly the case for Robinswood. Join USA Today bestseller, Jean Grainger as she takes you deep into the lives of Lord and Lady Kenefick, owners of the estate, whose social status is under threat as funds to keep the estate running ever dwindle.
Their children see no reason for life not to continue as normal, tennis parties and hunt balls, but even a rural backwater in Ireland cannot resist the power of change and as war looms in Europe, one thing is certain, nothing will ever be the same again.
Meanwhile, downstairs the Murphy family, Dermot, Isabella and thier three daughters, are only too aware of the realities of life. Their very existence hangs on the fortunes of the estate and the family they serve, but they too are about to have everything change.
These characters will worm their way into your heart and throughout the trilogy you will cheer the victories and walk beside them in the darkest of days.
With over 1000 5* reviews these books have rapidly become bestsellers. If you like Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs, then you will love the fortunes of those whose lives are inextricably linked with Robinswood.
New from USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jean Grainger,
One House, two families and a war that changes everything that once was true....
Robinswood, Co Waterford, 1939.
The once grand house is home to two very different families.Despite delusions of grandeur, Lord and Lady Kenefick and their adult children, live a life of decayed opulence as the money needed to keep such a large house and grounds ever dwindles.
Meanwhile, the Murphy family, Dermot, Isabella and their three almost grown up girls, live and work on the estate and do their best to keep everything running smoothly.
Social structure is vital. Everyone knows their place, but as war looms, both families find themselves drawn into the conflict and begin questioning everything that once was true.
From the leafy grounds of an Irish stately home, to the bombed out streets of London in the Blitz, allow yourself to be swept away once more in Jean Grainger’s latest bestselling historical saga.
Sister Claire McAuliffe has been called from Dungarvan, County Waterford, to do God’s work in Jumaaroo, Queensland. Along with four other sisters she is charged with setting up a Catholic school for the education of the gold rush families. But life between the tropical Australian rainforest and azure ocean is far from the spectacular paradise it seems.
Sister Claire finds life challenging in more ways than she can count, the heat, the terrifying creatures that lurk in every nook and cranny, the crocodiles and snakes, but far more worrying is the constant presence of the much loved mayor of Jumaaroo, Joseph McGrath. Why does a person so respected give Claire such cause for concern?
Is it the cruel way he speaks about the Aboriginal people who live on the mission? A closed community run by a peculiar religious leader who seems to deeply resent the arrival of the nuns? As Claire learns of the manner in which the Bundagulgi are treated, she is forced to act, but nobody wants to upset the status quo, and a meddlesome nun suddenly is a dangerous one.
Carmel Sheehan was raised in an orphanage in Dublin, and always believed what she was told, that her unmarried mother abandoned her as a newborn.
Forty years later, living in rural Ireland, in an unfulfilling marriage, and she has no reason to suspect that version of her past was untrue, until she gets a Facebook message one day from a stranger claiming it was all lies.
In this gripping boxed set, Carmel begins a journey of discovery that takes her back to a time long before she was born when love and loyalty, betrayals and secrets decided her fate. The reality of her true story is both shocking and heartwarming, and Carmel learns that in order to go forward, she must first make peace with her past.
A childless widow, Elizabeth Klein never met her cousin Peter Bannon, that side of the family were never talked about, some ancient, long forgotten grudge, but when she receives a letter from his wife, begging her to take care of her children, she doesn’t hesitate.
The Star and the Shamrock trilogy tells the story of Liesl and Erich as they embark on a new and strange life. From the terrifyingly regimented streets of the Third Reich, to the bombed out streets of Liverpool, and finally settling in the lush green valleys of Northern Ireland. It is a story of the love, light and hope which can be found, even in the darkest of situations, and of the ultimate goodness of humanity.
My twelve-year-old daughter frequently moans that Ballycarrick is the most boring town in Ireland.
Nothing ever happens here.
And as the local police sergeant, this is something I’m delighted about.
I’ve enough to worry about - the polar ice-caps, the evil monster that’s shrinking my trousers, not to mention the hot flushes - without having to be like one of those gritty Netflix cops, chasing criminals down alleyways and busting drug deals.
So, life is calm and fairly predictable.
Until something unthinkable happens in our sleepy backwater.
A crime, but not like anything I've ever seen before.
It's a complete mystery.
And it's up to me to solve it.
Twelve-year-old Harp Delaney is an unusual child, quiet and intelligent far beyond her years. She would rather spend her days in the library of the grand Georgian house that she sees as her home than playing on the streets with other children. Her mother, Rose, is the reserved and ladylike housekeeper at the Cliff House. The local women envy her grace and poise while the men admire her beauty. She behaves not as a servant should, but as someone who belongs at the ancestral home of eccentric loner Henry Devereaux. Nobody ever visits the Cliff House, but Harp, Rose and Henry have a happy life together, each accepting the idiosyncrasies of the others. The day Titanic sails from Queenstown, taking with it the hopes and dreams of so many, Harp’s life too is devastated. The small port town is shaken to its foundations at the loss of the unsinkable ship, but the revelation of a long-held secret means that Harp and Rose have a much more pressing issue to solve, one that could destroy them if they cannot find a solution. Unexpectedly, fate takes a hand, and mother and daughter find themselves thrown a lifeline, one that inextricably links them to the stories of men, women and children for whom Queenstown was the last-ever sight of Ireland as they sailed away to new lands and new lives. Last Port of Call is the first book in The Queenstown Series.
Three unputdownable stories of Irish love, loyalty, patriotism and betrayal.
USA Today bestseller, and winner of the Author's Circle Best Historical Fiction 2016.
'What you get with a Jean Grainger book is warm, authentic writing that welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.' Kate Kerrigan, New York Times bestselling author of the Ellis Island trilogy.
If you like Maeve Binchy, Rhys Bowen or Jojo Moyes, you’ll love Jean Grainger. Enjoy three best selling Irish stories in this great value box set.
1200+ pages, 1000+ 5* reviews
So Much Owed
The Buckley family of Dunderrig, West Cork, Ireland, find themselves drawn into WW2 despite Ireland's neutrality.
From the Nazi presence in the drawing rooms of middle class Dublin to the bombed out streets of London, So Much Owed will sweep you away in a story of intrigue, betrayal, love and loyalty.
Shadow of a Century
1916 - Dublin's streets are running red with revolution as Ireland makes her final bid for freedom, but for two families the stakes are even higher than their country's liberation. Should they sacrifice their own happiness to make Ireland free?
Under Heaven’s Shining Stars
Cork 1960 - Three boys, who defy society, and the Catholic Church, to save each other. Liam, Patrick and Hugo realise that friends are often the family that we choose.
Some Amazon reviews;
‘Best historical fiction I have ever read.’
‘Jean has a knack of getting inside the Irish history and letting love shine through.’
‘Move over Maeve Binchy, this is unputdownable.’
‘Meticulously researched but presented in such an accessible way, you’ll feel like you know the characters, and you’ll really care about them.’
‘A must for anyone with Irish blood in them.’
Experience the full spectrum of emotions as these stories sweep you away to the Emerald Isle…
USA Today bestselling author wants to take you to Ireland for a story that will leave you wanting more long after you turn the last page...
Twenty-five year old Billie Romano is struggling. She is grieving the death of her beloved dad and nothing in her life is going right. Her mother has remarried with indecent haste, so when her grandfather presents everyone in the family with a DNA testing kit for fun, Billie couldn’t be less interested in playing happy families.
The test results are shocking, and Billie finds herself caught in a turmoil of emotions as she is faced with a reality she could never have imagined.
Her journey of discovery takes her to Ireland, and to the stunningly beautiful Castle Dysert on the Wild Atlantic Coast, when Conor O’Shea once more steps into the role of fixer of problems and soother of troubled souls. Can Billie make a whole new start or are some cans of worms best left closed?
Finding Billie Romano is the fifth book in the Tour Series.
Life as manager of the magnificent resort of Castle Dysert on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast is never dull, and Conor O’Shea’s life to date has taught him to be prepared for the unexpected.
Even he however, is not ready for the gang from Bubbles O’Leary’s bar in New York. A motley crew, from spinster sisters of a certain age, to exhausted social workers, they are all in Ireland for one reason.
The fact that this bunch of unusual people arrive during Ireland’s biggest matchmaking festival just adds to the intrigue. But is everyone who they say they are? Are all their motives pure?
Conor is ready to do his best to show the visitors his beloved Ireland, but his personal life takes a devastating turn and he finds himself torn, unsure how to proceed. Is the past best left there, or is there redemption to be found in opening old wounds?
Wise and witty, heart-warming and deeply satisfying, Jean Grainger takes us once more on an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle.
The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary is the fourth book in The Tour Series.