‘This series has a lot of potential’. Robbie reviews #Histfic The Winds Of Morning by @AuthorGMacShane

Today’s team review is from Robbie. She blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading The Winds Of Morning by Gifford MacShane


This story is set in Ireland during the potato famine. Molly O’Brien and her two brother have been left orphans following the deaths of their parents. Molly has taken her father’s job and is working to build a road in order to try and feed her brothers. The road goes no-where, and is merely a ploy by the authorities to force the starving Irish to work for their money in accordance with the mindset of the day. Her job as a stone breaker doesn’t bring in enough money to feed them and they are all in a bad way.

In desperation, Molly is in the process of making a decision to become a prostitute in order to feed her brothers, when a young man from a wealthy family, John Patrick, sees her. He intervenes to save Molly who he believes is planning to commit suicide. Molly is incredibly attractive, despite her circumstances and starvation and John Patrick chooses to save her and her brothers by marrying her.

His choice and Molly’s decision go ahead with a marriage to a stranger she does not love, changes the paths of both of their lives.

I have read other stories about the Irish famine and found them equally compelling to this book, however, this short story really charmed me. The author writes beautifully and the story has some nice and happy parts which offer relief from the horror of this historical era.

John Patrick is an honorable and upstanding fellow and despite his actions requiring a little suspension of belief due to their selflessness, he is a delightful character.

A lovely and entertaining short story. This series has a lot of potential and I would certainly be interested in reading more about these characters.

Desc 1

1848: the third year the potato crop failed in Ireland. The Protestant landlords have absconded back to Britain, leaving the Catholic peasants to fend for themselves, while the English government allowed the export of tens of thousands of tons of Irish food daily.

With two younger brothers to feed, Molly O’Brien took her father’s place on the road gang, building a road that runs from her tiny village to the river and no farther. Yet sixteen hours of labor a day would not garner enough wages to buy food for her family.

She was beyond despair. Beyond prayer. And so far beyond the tenets of her childhood, she’d decided to offer her body to the first man with the price of a loaf of bread. At that moment, a voice behind her spoke…

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THROUGH THE BARRICADES by @denisedeegan Fabulous #Irish war time #HistFic #SundayBlogShare

Through the BarricadesThrough the Barricades by Denise Deegan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Through The Barricades is an Irish based historical fiction.

The prologue opens in 1906, a house fire. Maggie Gilligan’s father gets her to safety out of a bedroom window. His last words to her are “Make a difference in the world, Maggie”.

Chapter one begins in 1913, Dublin. It is seven years after her father’s death. Maggie meets Daniel and Michael, two boys who help her with a flat bicycle tyre. They talk of trouble in the city, strikers are causing riots, Maggie fiercely defends them to the surprise of the boys.

Daniel is intrigued by Maggie, his privileged upbringing has sheltered him from the plight of the poor. He is determined to see Maggie again and learn more. Maggie challenges Daniel to help her at a food kitchen and her determination to help those in need and fight for their rights opens his eyes to so much more.

They become friends, joining the Na Fianna, a scouts youth group, but one of many rebel groups within Ireland wanting equality and an end to British rule. Daniel realises that all his education has been about British history, he hears of the 1695 Penal laws used to suppress the Irish. As his love for Maggie grows, so does her determination to fight for Ireland. Desperate to protect her he believes that when WW1 breaks out if he signs up and fights for the British army they will allow home rule for the Irish once the war is over.

The war for Daniel and Michael is terrible, they are sent to Gallipoli and the reality is devastating. Back home Maggie cannot rest, she takes on dangerous work for the rebels which culminates in the Easter Rising of 1916.

I really enjoyed this book, I read it all in one afternoon and evening as I was so engrossed in the storyline, the passion of the characters, the historical detail and the experience I came away with from reading this. Like Daniel I learnt about the background to the Easter Rising, and I learnt about what it was probably like fighting in Gallipoli. Truly horrific on both accounts.

Recommended for those who like good detailed historical fiction, yes it is laced with a romantic theme, but it was subtle enough to be part of the passion of the book.

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Book Description

She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her. 

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor. 

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative . . . as downright infuriating. 

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms. 

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?


About the author

Denise Deegan

Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies. 

Denise has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was being a checkout girl, although ultimately this experience did inspire a short story…

Denise writes for both adults and teenagers. Her novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Writing under the pen name Aimee Alexander, Denise’s contemporary family dramas have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

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