Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: The Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore

I thoroughly enjoy family sagas in books. If there's a family tree in the front to help keep characters straight, even better. So of course I was thrilled to read the first book in the Deverill Chronicles, The Girl in the Castle and it was everything I expected. With the second book, The Daughters of Ireland, now available to US readers, I had to get my hands on it and see just where the story went.

The first novel in the trilogy really centered mostly on Kitty Deverill, whose grandparents lived in Castle Deverill, her growing to adulthood, her choices, her heart, her politics, and her life. This second novel takes a closer look at her cousin Celia and childhood friend Bridie, both of whom loomed large and altered Kitty's life in some way and both of whom were always also tightly woven into the story of Castle Deverill. After the destruction at the end of the first book, cousin Celia and her husband Archie have bought Castle Deverill and she is determined to restore it even beyond its former glory. Kitty is uncomfortable with Celia's plans and ownership of the castle but she is busy in her own life, raising her half brother (Bridie's son) and trying to decide if she can run away to America with Jack O'Leary, the long time love of her life. Meanwhile Bridie has done well for herself in America, inheriting money from a former employer and then marrying a wealthy elderly man who has left her a widow. But she still aches for the son she left behind and for Jack O'Leary, even as her one-time love for best friend Kitty has soured into hatred. As the world changes around them, from the relief and residual sorrow of the end of the Great War, to the financial upending of the Great Depression, and finally to the stirrings of WWII, these three woman, make their way through life, intimately tied to Ireland, the land of County Cork, and the castle in particular as they each learn to live with and accept their pasts.

This second novel is very much an Irish soap opera, not only for the intertwined lives of the main characters but also for the sheer variety of things that happen in the plot, the tragedies and losses, and the character turnabouts that occur to so very many. Celia comes across as a self-centered and flighty character who discovers a backbone, a brain, and an indisputable moral compass. Bridie, who was sympathetic in the first novel, is exceedingly unpleasant here and she is not the only one as Grace, Lady Rowan-Hampton, suddenly becomes rather closer to a villain than she previously was. Jack O'Leary, who is understandably frustrated and angry with life, turns into a cold and unsympathetic character as well. Harry Deverill and best friend Boysie stay rather closer to their characters in the first book and the other secondary characters, including the ghosts, now with the addition of the late Adeline Deverill, add color to the story again. In fact, the Shrubs' situation with Lady Rowan-Hampton's father is a huge delight. This second installment offers far more information on the Deverill curse and the history behind it although it is no closer to being broken than it was in book one. The ending here is full of hanging plot threads which gives it a rather unfinished feel, despite its more than 500 pages. Readers not familiar with the first book can read this one but having read the first book to have a full knowledge of everything that sets up the situations here would definitely be the better option. I didn't love it nearly as much as I did the first novel but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious to see where the final book goes. The third novel of the trilogy is already out in the UK if you just can't wait to see how Montefiore wraps up this sprawling saga.

For more information about Santa Montefiore and the book, check out her website, like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or follow her Facebook page dedicated to her books. Check out the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

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