Lives without end by Anne M. McLoughlin
Part two of a three-part family drama (although reads as a standalone novel) Lives Without End is set between Ireland and America following the Great Irish Famine. It tells the story of the lives of three generations of women from the McNamara family. Mary Ann, the indomitable matriarch, her daughter Maud, and her granddaughter, beautiful and fragile Bridie. Each of the women’s intertwined lives has been shaped by love and loss, each has their own secrets. The focus of this section of the family’s story centres on Bridie. After her heart is broken following a tragic loss, she emigrates to Boston to build a new life for herself where she becomes involved in a scandalous affair that forces her to make a heart-breaking decision. She returns to Ireland, burying her secrets from her family, and is ready to start again. But can she?
This is a beautifully written, evocative story of that time. It tells of an Ireland long gone, capturing memories of rural Ireland that will resonate with anyone with an Irish connection and will delight those who don’t. The characters are compelling, believable, human – the cast portrays the stoicism characteristic of Irish women of that generation. What makes this novel stand out from others in the genre is McLoughlin’s lyrical prose, you can almost see the places she describes, the landscape of her characters’ lives.
For lovers of family saga’s, this is a story of one family’s secrets, a web of deceit and betrayal that will transport the reader to another time and place - a deeply satisfying and enjoyable read.