February 10, 2010

Review of: The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

THE YELLOW HOUSE delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20 century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life. She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore.
I wanted to review The Yellow House from the second I read the blurb. I am half Irish and since becoming pregnant with my youngest I have become more and more interested in that portion of my heritage. My fiance (though I sometimes refer to him as my husband) is of Welsh descent and we chose Celtic first and middle names for our daughter.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with Eileen and her family, friends and those not-so-friendlies. The Yellow House opens with Eileen O'Neill recounting a particular summer day that occurred when she was 8 years old. Her father, Tom, comes home with bright yellow paint for the outside of the family's home. The entire book takes place between 1905, when Eileen is 8, and 1922. Through Eileen, we experience some of what those left behind felt during World War I. We also experience Ireland's fight for independence from England. This we see directly through Eileen's own actions. She becomes involved with a group that eventually becomes apart of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Eileen helps raise her youngest brother, Paddy, first after their mother leaves and later after their father dies. The night their father dies there is also a fire in the Yellow House. Eileen and Paddy move in with family friends. Eileen goes to work at a nearby textile mill. Eileen dreams of saving as quickly as possible enough money to repair the Yellow House and put her family (or what is left of it) back together.

Though they both love her, the two men Eileen becomes involved with couldn't be more different from each other. Owen is the wealthy, handsome son of the family who owns the mill where Eileen works. The family are Quakers, not that that stops Owen from imbibing now and then and eventually joining the British Army. James is studying to be a priest when Eileen meets him. James is the older brother of Eileen's friend and co-worker Theresa. 

I look forward to future works from Patricia Falvey. I really felt like I had met these people. Like I had been a part of their lives. Especially if they are set in Ireland. =)

Title: The Yellow House
Author: Patricia Falvey (author's website)
ISBN: 9781599952017
Pages: 352 
Published by: Center Street (February 15, 2010)
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction
Source: Hachette Book Group sent me this ARC to review.
Grade: B What does this grade mean?
 tiny - 100+ 

1 comment:

  1. Nice review! I've been curious about this book for a while. Planning to read sometime.


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