“May the roof above us never fall in and those beneath it never fall out.”
Kilteegan Bridge, Ireland 1963.
On the face of it, life is idyllic for Eli and Lena Kogan. Living in their beautiful house in the Irish countryside, their children are growing up happy and safe surrounded by a loving community. So when a letter arrives one day threatening to shatter their peaceful and prosperous world, Lena and Eli have no option but face the dark reality of their situation. How best to do that, is something that drives a wedge between them.
As a Jewish child, escaped from Germany in 1939, Eli is all for letting those dark days where they belong, for him, there’s no future in the past.
But for Lena, it’s different. She knows that the only way she can move her family forward in peace is to first go back, and there is only one man who knows the whole truth.
From rural Ireland to wartime France, What Divides us, tells a tale of loyalty and love, resentment and revenge, that has far reaching consequences for the Kogan family, the unravelling of which might just destroy their future.
If Jean Grainger comes out with a new book, particularly in one of her series, you know I’ll be front and center. Book 2 of the Kilteegan Bridge Story digs deeper into the story of Eli and Lena Kogan. Now in 1963, some five years after The Trouble with Secrets introduced us to the unusual couple, they have Sarah and Pádraig in addition to Emmet—the baby that began the storyline.
The family is living in a beautiful home in a small community surrounded by family, support, and prosperity. When Lena receives a letter addressed specifically to her, it’s bad news. Eli, a Jewish child of Germany, wants nothing to do with the past, that ugly and tragic history. He and Lena have vastly different ideas on how to handle it but for her, there is only one way.
“…they ran with the hares and hunted with the hounds.”
A mother and a wife but she’s not entirely without resources and she begins a concerted effort to get to the bottom of it and assure that it will not impact neither her family nor the immediate family firmly entrenched within their boundaries.
It’s not just about the house or the land, however, it goes somewhat deeper and her first line of offense is to contact Malachy Berger, whose family originally held title. It was his loathsome father that separated her and Malachy years ago. His family and hers have a dark history, one they’ve not shared with anyone except Eli, stemming from the last great war.
“There are such things as kind untruths…”
In the first book, I wasn’t sure about the character of Eli. He is closed mouth about his background but has otherwise proven to be a loving father and responsible member of the medical community. Lena has matured with three children but this time I had a bit of a problem with her very female severe overreaction to the situation, enumerating the issues and then repeating them several more times. It is a big problem, of course, with repercussions not just for her and Eli. She does, after all, have a valid point and with typical fighting Irish sensibilities tends to expand a conflict into a battle, one she’s prepared to fight.
The author crafts a well-plotted and fast-paced storyline that grips from the beginning. Lena doesn’t shy away from traveling to meet persons with info and dip into a dark background that stuns the soul as it reveals brutal and shocking truths.
I love it when Jean Grainger releases another in one of her series. I’ve read most of them and marveled at the way she can weave a historical chronicle into an Irish family drama that touches the heart and takes so many of us with some Irish ties home.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Recommended!
Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Historical Irish Fiction, Jewish Historical Fiction, Jewish Literature & Fiction
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: September 29, 2022
Source: Author Request
The Author: USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.
WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL 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 of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!
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 to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..
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.
My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.
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. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. 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 a reader really does make my day.
©2022 V Williams