Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey

genre: adult fiction

Scraping by on a linen worker's wages is not the kind of life that Sheila plans on living for much longer.  Her grandest wish is to escape from Ireland as soon as possible, away from her demanding and unappreciative mother and the ghost of the father that left when she was a child.  Her story begins on the cusp of the second World War in a small village in Northern Ireland.  Confident and aware of her good looks, she hopes to be chosen as the Linen Queen so she can get her chance on the prize money - her ticket out of town. 

If only those Yankee soldiers didn't come to town to complicate things - or if her childhood friend Gavin could just keep their relationship the way it's always been.  And then when a refugee from Belfast ends up at her house, it seems as though she may never get without some serious determination and no small amount of selfishness. 

Sheila has a lot to learn about herself and what she wants to stand for at this really challenging point in Irish history (does Irish history have a point that's NOT really challenging?).  Of course there is still that rumbling of Irish history and pride - as Northern Irish they are on England's side of the war, but Free Ireland to the south has to be on the side of whomever is fighting the devil British, there is no small amount of political talk in this book.  It is, however, woven throughout this interesting and romantic story, with enough twists to compensate for the fairly predictable conclusion.
If you like Irish historical fiction, this is as authentic as anything else I've read and certainly as good, if not better, than Falvey's first novel The Yellow House.

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bermudaonion said...

We were in Northern Ireland earlier this year and I just fell in love with the people there and have been fascinated with the division of Ireland ever since. I think I need to read this book!

Anna said...

I loved this book, and now I really must read The Yellow House! I'll link to your review on War Through the Generations.

Marg said...

I read The Yellow House and really enjoyed it but don't recall having seen too much about this book which is a shame.

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