Title: Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainger
Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Publication Date: June 3, 2015
Title and Cover: Shadow of a Century – Cover in old photo tones
This story is split between Scarlett O’Hara and Eileen Chiarello of New York in 2016 and Mary Doyle of Dublin in 1916. Scarlett is introduced and her circumstances as the “other woman” to a powerful political figure described as well as her sudden and embarrassing fall from grace. That circumstance will introduce ninety-three-year-old Eileen Chiarello. It is really the story of Mary Doyle and the turmoil and upheaval in Dublin leading to the events of the Easter Rising in 1916. It is her daughter, Eileen, that provides the link.
Mary Doyle has turned 18 and left the Catholic orphanage for a wealthy home in Dublin in 1913, where she expects to live a life of domestic service. At the Grant’s home, however, she is received by the housekeeper and Mrs. Grant who bestows room and board and a friendly welcome. Mr. Grant serves as the immediate antagonist. Mary meets the servant of another home, Eileen, who becomes a close friend, while Mrs. Kearns the mother she never had.
Are you with me so far?
The chapters begin switching from a century ago and Mary’s story to Scarlett’s story, which is sometimes problematic. Scarlett is really not a charismatic person, even taken down a notch or two. Mary’s simpering gets a little tiring, though she is certainly more sympathetic and developed. As she is enveloped in the struggle for independence, Mary becomes more aware of what she really is capable of doing. It is through her friend, Eileen, that she meets Rory O’Dwyer, a fierce member of those who oppose British rule. Rory provides the love interest, though the main plot is the Easter Rising, the extreme loss and bloody outcome of the conflict.
After Scarlett meets and befriends the New York Eileen, she finds herself coming to terms with her own mother and a promise to Eileen to accompany her back to Dublin on the occasion of a special commemoration celebration. She takes “the flag” that her mother brought to America.
I enjoyed the chapters regarding the Easter Rising, feeling more like a history lesson than fiction and the plot was certainly laid out, whether a little disjointed at times or not. The author, however, repeats a number of times her own political views (how could she not, I guess), and we understood that it led to more conflict and a tragic civil war. But I felt the book could have been reduced by two hundred pages if we’d received the message once. And Scarlett–bemoaning her name, bemoaning her mother, yes, I got it the first time. Dialogue felt natural, gave a slight flavor of accent, and a few times lapsed into Irish.
The climax comes almost as an anti-climax and wrapped up the newly discovered love interest with Scarlet, and then they all went home. I guess. While reading about the Rising was of special interest, I had a problem with…timeline (sometimes ages or events didn’t compute)…grammar (I know there are differences between UK English and American, so tried to overlook some of that)…and sooo many edit misses. Ms. Grainger REALLY needs another editor. I can recommend for those who enjoy historical fiction, Irish history, or information on the British/Irish conflict as it appears it was well researched. But be prepared to overlook a few problems.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars
The Author: JEAN GRAINGER – WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHORS CIRCLE NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE
Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think Maeve Binchy but with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 from a large family of storytellers. I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married with four children and live in a stone cottage in Mid-Cork with them and a bouncy lurcher/collie cross called Arnie.
My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.
The sequel to The Tour, called Safe at the Edge of the World, follows Conor O’Shea once again as he takes another motley crew on a tour of Ireland. This time with a very odd couple aboard who seem to be hiding something…
My World War 2 novel, ‘So Much Owed’ is a family saga based in Ireland following the Buckley family of Dunderrig House…The history of the period was my academic specialty so I’m delighted to be able to use it in a work of fiction.
Shadow of a Century, is set in New York in 2016 as well as in Dublin during the events of Easter Week 1916, where Irish men and women fought valiantly to rid our island of British Imperialism…
Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too…If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by someone on the other side of the world really does make my day. (See the complete author’s profile on Amazon here.) ©2018 V Williams