This book had me hooked on the first page. With the thoughts of a fine irish brough, their mystical background, the strength that they posses, as well as what they have gone through as a country, a people.
Eileen O’Neil is one of those people, where nostalgia invades her life. The tightness of the family, as well as dreams for the future, looking at the dazzling surroundings of where she lives – The Yellow House.
When disaster hits – her sister dying, the family is torn apart. The devastation her mother feels is unrelenting – she detaches from the family she thought was once perfect. The grief alone sets the family apart, even Eileen.
Eileen gradually takes a job in the mill that is owned by the Quaker people who live in town. War is starting to take away the young men not only in the town, but globally. The dark reality sets in as the town and its inhabitants once divided on beliefs and values are coming together for the war effort.
The mill owners son begins to befriend Eileen. But being from different backgrounds as well as religious affiliations, it is impossible for them to be together. Catholics at this time stay with Catholics, Protestants stay with Protestants, you understand. There is this electricity, this spark that she feels and wonders if he feels it too. It is nearly palpable when you are around them. Eileen pushes it from her mind.
Eileen befriends one of the woman that she works with. It is her brother who comes back from the war injured that eventually marries. Although the war is finished for him there is something else that is brewing – a war between political parties that splits the country apart. With more than the world war on their minds, one is starting in their back yards. They take up the cause, believing they are in the right. Disastrous things such as bombings, fires, and assaults start to happen.
The mill owners son is sent off to war. His feelings are quite different then Eileen’s husband. He wants to be able to talk and not use violence as a way to settle things. They are as different as night and day; Eileen is torn between her duty as a wife and working for the mill owner’s son. The chemistry between the two different men is just as opposite as they are in life. She makes one decision, wanting to make another, she is torn between the two.
The choices she makes will not only change her life, but the lives of many until she understands herself as much as one could. She may be going against the grain with the choices she eventually makes – the church, the people she lives and works with in the 20th century.
After I finished this novel, I had so many questions that wanted answering. When you are so engrossed into the book you are reading you want to know what happens, until the whole story is laid out for you. It is like you are given just a tiny piece of information, but it is killing you not knowing the full picture. Yes, you know what I mean don’t you.
I devoured this book in one day of reading. It completely enveloped me and spat me out when it was done with me. I was entranced with all of the characters – their individuality, their sameness, their differences. The characters jumped off the page, became lifelike, as well as their human abilities as well as failures to make them genuine.
Hachette / Center Street – There is a pdf reading guide on this page as well to download on the right hand side