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Was really keen to read this story set in Ireland but, although the writing is often lyrical and it is interesting in the historical aspects, it is hard to follow the myriad of 'explained' characters - many of whom are inconsequential to the story. The two timeframes are further confused by a wandering PoV, at times, and it is clear the author does not have a visual map in her head for some events.
Great to have the second book available to immediately follow on from the first . A great read with an interesting structure and well developed characters. See the other great reviews for the two books individually.
I especially liked how thorough ORNA ROSS 'S detailed weaving of Catholic Ireland's struggle with keeping loyal to their faith and chose to be politically loyal to England. Some in the same town chose to not be loyal and joined armies to invade their neighbors and vice versa. There is love between these warring factions that didn't survive. There are generations of families living together with deep seated hatred to those on the other side. But being Irish, they had big, loving hearts and crossed over on occasion to help those being hurt. There are lots of secrets to pass down to grand children which were revealed in Modern times who try to make sense of it all. And there is love to be renewed decades later, across the sea. It was most interesting to read about how strong Irish women were during a time, 1920's, when women were under appreciated. They joined the fight for Ireland's freedom right along side of the soldiers. They lost family members but kept up the fight. I hope there is a sequel. A VERY COMPELLING READ.