Thursday, March 11, 2010
New Release: The Yellow House (Plus Giveaway!)
Eileen O'Neill believes she has the ideal life with her parents, older brother and younger sister in their yellow house at the base of Slieve Gullion, a mountain in County Armagh. Their family lives off the glory of the O'Neill family history and celebrates life with friends and music. It doesn't take long, though, for things to turn for the worse. Young Lizzie contracts scarlet fever and dies in the local Fever Hospital. Eileen's mother, pregnant at the time, has a new baby, young Paddy, but loses her mind after the birth. She soon leaves with Frankie, abandoning Eileen and the baby with their crippled and heartbroken father. A couple of years later, the political violence makes it to their remote region and Eileen's Da is killed by Ulster Unionists for being Catholic and their yellow house is set on fire. The story then follows Eileen as she moves in with friends, finds work and love, cares for her brother Paddy and becomes entangled in the very politics that put her in such an unfortunate situation.
This novel definitely took me on a journey through a defining time in Northern Ireland -- and in fact, the creation of the country. The tension between the Protestants and Catholics is palpable and distressing. Having this violence occur in the shadow of World War I seems almost unbelievable and yet the history is undeniable. I appreciate that Falvey has included a short historical summary at the end of the book as I usually turn to research after a book like this one.
The plot of the story is a a bit frustrating. As a heroine, Eileen can be infuriating, as her Irish temper seems to be the only thing operating her mouth most of the time. Sometimes it is hard to sympathize with the problems that she has created for herself. And yet, through everything, you find yourself hoping for the best for her and each setback in her life is still heartbreaking.
I would love to share this novel with one of my readers so if you are interested in winning my copy, please let me know in the comments before the end of day on Tuesday March 16 (be sure to include your e-mail address if it's not in your profile) and I will choose on St. Patrick's Day. I'm going to offer this one just in the U.S. and Canada since it's a hardcover book.
Update: The winner will receive a brand new copy of their own thanks to the publisher, Hachette Book Group!
Waiting for the politics of hate to end in all nations,
Support our site and buy The Yellow House on Amazon or find it at your local library. We received a review copy from the publisher.