This was a lovely story. From war with its heartbreak and loss, there was also survival. There was love both in the past and present and always a hope for things better.
Told in two separate time frames from 1919 the story of Ellen and her love for Jimmy set against the Irish war for independence and then fast forwarding to an Irish woman of 2016 and her quest to build a life away from a manipulative and emotionally abusive husband.
Ellen was a simple girl who found employment as a maid. Her employer was a woman of distinct courage who was fearless in her support of the quest for independence. She knew Ellen was like minded and involved her in a few simple but very important tasks all helping the rebels. When Jimmy Ellen's sweetheart was involved in an attack, he was forced to leave her and move far away. He never knew Ellen was pregnant and at that time, the fate of unmarried pregnant girls was dire. The Madeline Laundries were horror chambers and Ellen who was sent there fared badly. Ellen disappears after the birth of baby James to try to find out what has happened in her own home, and when she returns she is told that the baby died.
The story takes off from there and Ellen has to find her feet sans any support from anyone because there is literally no one around. Picking up the pieces, we only unravel Ellen's life in 2016 when Clare Farrell literally running away from her husband discovers an old birth certificate and a medallion and tries to go back in history to find out to whom these belong.
Clare herself is trying to find her feet after a 25 year marriage has fallen apart and she is ill equipped to do so. Even simple things seem beyond her because her husband has over ridden all her wishes and done exactly as he wanted. But Clare herself knows that she is strong and that she must overcome those obstacles to live again, the way she wants to live.
Both stories bitter sweet and emotional, one set in older Ireland and one set in modern Ireland are equally very compelling.
A history lesson on the side also helped.
Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of HQ Digital.