One hundred years of secrets.
A sweeping novel of love, loss, family and history.
Ireland is about to be torn apart by the War of Independence.
Hannah O’Donovan helps her father hide rebel soldiers in the attic, putting her family in great danger from the British soldiers who roam the countryside. An immediate connection between Hannah and O’Riada, the leader of this hidden band of rebels, will change her life and that of her family forever . . .
Ellen is at a crossroads: her marriage is in trouble, her career is over and she’s grieving the loss of a baby. After years in London, she decides to come home to Ireland to face the things she’s tried so hard to escape. Reaching into the past, she feels a connection to her ancestor, the mysterious Hannah O’Donovan. But why won’t anyone in her family talk about Hannah? And how can this journey help Ellen put her life back together?
A RIVER IN THE TREES is one half a fascinating portrayal of Irish history and one half a modern “find yourself” tale. I learnt a lot about the war between the English and Irish during the early 1900’s as well as the “old” IRA. Whom, are very different to the modern version.
The two narratives, one set in 1919 that centres around Hannah and the other set in 2019 centred around Ellen, intertwine neatly. Hannah is a great character, a free-spirit, and her story was incredibly rich. I found myself desperate to get back to her story line as I connected with it so much.
I liked how the modern strand was “smack in your face” contemporary, I felt that I was there in 2019 experiencing Ellen’s existential angst.
There were some beautiful, lyrical passages in the historical narrative and I did feel a connection between the narrative and the Irish setting. It was soft and poetic.
The pace was really set by Hannah and the 1919 narrative and I felt that the ending was satisfying, which counts for a lot!
Great debut novel, eager to see what she writes next.
About the Author
Jacqueline O’Mahony is from, Cork, Ireland. She did her BA in Ireland, her MA at the University of Bologna, and her PhD in History as a Fulbright Scholar at Duke University, and at Boston College. She has worked as a writer, editor and stylist at Tatler, Vogue and the Irish Independent.
She lives in Notting Hill with her husband and three young children.
Follow her on twitter @jacomahony
Massive thank you to Quercus Books, Ana in particular and Jacqueline for allowing me to review this book.
If you would like to get your own copy please click here.
Thank you so much for reading xx