Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Release: The Yellow House (Plus Giveaway!)

This novel, The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey, is a satisfying blend of historical fiction and character study.  Set in Northern Ireland in the period between 1905 and 1924, Falvey explores the explosive politics of the time in the context of one woman's life.

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.


  1. Ah ha!
    Prejudice against people from other continents!
    Does that make you a continentist?

    Having sent books internationally, I fully sympathise.


    Publish or Perish

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me in giveaway; thanks

    bibliophilebythesea AT gmail DOT com

  3. I took an Irish Lit class in college and loved it! I'm always interested in reading more books set there. I'd love to win! WordLily AT gmail DOT com

  4. Northern Ireland has a special place in my heart. Hope to travel there again some day.

  5. What a surprise to see this book today. I just picked the winners for our April BC discussion (we will be discussing The Yellow House with the author mid April). You are welcome to join the discussion if interested.

    Manic Mommies Book Club

  6. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy (great review!). Would love to win a copy - thanks for the giveaway!

    caribousmom (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. This reminds me of a book I read for book club last year. I enjoy these kinds of stories and having Irish in my ancestry I love reading books from there and getting a feel for the surroundings.

  8. Sounds like an awesome read. I'd love to enter!

  9. No need to enter me (I don't think this is my kind of book) but Good Lord a lot of bad stuff seems to happen to her family!

  10. I've got this one out from the library at the moment. It sounds good, but there is indeed lots going on in the story. I'm glad you liked it despite a frustrating heroine! It does seem like a perfect March book!

  11. Sounds great. Nice pick.

  12. Al - I guess I'm not strictly a continentist as I would be willing to send to Hawaii. ;) But yes, the cost of sending a hardcover internationally is shockingly high!

    Diane - Great!

    Wordlily - I randomly read books in Ireland but they are mostly set in the south and in more modern times (like Binchy's books). This was definitely a good change for me and I'm going to look for more Irish historical fiction.

    Glenda - I would love to travel there for the first time! We are just waiting a bit for the kid to be a bit older and then we will head across the Atlantic.

    Mari - I'll definitely head over to join in the discussion next month. This is a great book for a group!

    Wendy - Thanks!

    Rachel - It's fascinating to read about a time when your ancestors were actually in a place. I've been reading more lately about Franco's Spain because that's the point that my family emigrated to the U.S.

    Natalie - Awesome!

    Jenners - Oh, I didn't even list the half of it! That's just right at the beginning! I'll admit to a few sighs when something ELSE happened to poor Eileen.

    Danielle - I can't wait to see your review!

    Passionate - Thanks!

  13. Please enter me.

    Then you can pick me to win and just bring me a copy yourself!