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Orpen at War by Patricia O’Reilly This illustrated, fictionalised biography of William Orpen, the leading society portraitist of his day...
Secret Lies Hurt by Tricia Holbrook
An emotional roller-coaster of a read.
Devastated when her lover, also her boss, refuses to leave his wife, Wendy heads off to Spain to start a new life. There she meets Alejandro, a kindred spirit. However, Wendy’s newfound happiness is brought to an unexpected climax when she receives news that her mother is dying. On returning home she learns that her father was not who he thought he was. After reading her mother’s letters she learns of her real father Nick Jones is alive and well and living in the West of Ireland. Alejandro returns and finds Wendy being persecuted by the unwanted attentions of her old boss. Caught in a whirlwind of lies and deceit, Wendy does not know who to trust anymore.
This is a well written and enjoyable read, with well-drawn believable characters and shows how lies can cause even the most established lives to unravel in unexpected ways.
Annie of Ainsworth's Mill by Katie Hutton.
Authentic historical family drama in the hands of a skilful storyteller.
This engaging historical novel set at the end of the 19th Century tells the story a young Northern Irish man and woman Robert McClure and Annie Maguire who fall in love despite the odds. He is a presbyterian, illegitimate, and she is Catholic. As a young man, Robert had been fostered by a Catholic woman who taught him tailoring skills and he dreams, one day, of setting up his own business. However, Robert and Annie are both forced by circumstances to leave Ireland. She ends up working in Ainsworth’s Mill in Cumbria, England, and he in the local coal mines. Shortly after arriving there, Robert is invited to join an Orange Lodge, and on the 12th July celebrations he rescues Annie from a group of bullying Orangemen. The couple’s tender relationship unfolds against bitter sectarian hatred within the two communities. On one level this is a highly enjoyable and fast-paced tale of the couple’s evolving romance, plagued with setbacks and dramas -- but on another it is also the story of a troubled community beset by bigotry. As a piece of social history this was an extremely satisfying read which explained the different religious perspectives and argued fairly from both sides. Beautifully written and researched, with memorable and well-rounded characters, this was a charming story, shedding new light on troubled times, with a highly satisfying ending.