Skip to main content

Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore




Publication Date:  January 1, 2001

Length:  400 pages

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆  4 out of 5 stars


WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK:

This is one of my favorite eras to read about. The struggles of the Irish during the 1840's potato famine is a subject I never tire of learning new things about and it provides such amazing stories of heroic people living through heartbreaking conditions. Throw in the nasty English overlord and you've got a great historical fiction novel. I'm not crazy about books that are named after the main character, but that didn't stop me from trying it. 

SUMMARY:

Grace is a typical country Irish girl living with her father and brothers on their family farm. Losing her mother at the age of fifteen has taken its toll on the family although they try to make the best of things. Due to difficult circumstances, Grace is forced to marry an English squire, Bram Donnelly, but her young, girlish innocence leads her to believe love will bring them a happy and fruitful marriage. Grace thinks Donnelly will save her family from ruin and is optimistic about the future. Ignoring his past and stories of his violent behavior she plunges headlong into disaster. When the potato famine arrives and threatens her beloved county and the people she's grown to know and love, Grace attempts to save them in any way she can, feeding and tending to them with concern and devotion. Her husband is not pleased and as she defies him, her safety is at risk. Dramatic events ensue as her brother and childhood friend involve themselves in the political machinations of the time and she is forced to choose between saving her family or the new life she thought she was dedicated to. Throughout it all, the famine is taking its toll on everyone and everything around them and Grace is helpless to stop it.

WHAT I LIKED:

This book incorporated a great balance of history and fiction. I learned a lot about the famine but also the politics of the Irish at the time. Using her brother, Sean, as the radical Irish revolutionary was a great contrast between Grace's more innocent, kind persona and Sean's fiery, unapologetic desire to change the status quo. When Grace is installed at Donnelly's estate I felt a sadness for her that the author invoked with the way he belittles her and kills her dreams for a happy future. The ending makes it obvious this is a sequel and it has the feel that the story is just beginning. I love that when a book can make you want to go out and immediately get the next one. The use of Irish Gaelic was a nice touch as well and phrases are sprinkled throughout the story. It is not as in depth as Outlander but it definitely has the same feel to it. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:

There aren't a lot of negatives except that the character development tended to be one sided and I'd have liked to have gotten more involved with Bram's background and some of the minor characters as well. Overall it is a solid well written story though so not a lot to add here!

RECOMMEND OR NOT? ABSOLUTELY!

I think most historical fiction lovers would enjoy this book. No, it's not a deep read but certainly not YA either. Especially if you love stories about the potato famine you'd want to read it. And the sequels look interesting. I've looked ahead but won't leave spoilers here. Enjoy!
















 

Comments

  1. Sounds interesting and it's not a era or circumstance I know anything about so I'm intrigued. I'm looking for almost anything that isn't WWII......
    Terrie @ Bookshelf JOurneys

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read a lot of WWII books at one time also and got a little tired of the time period. Lately I've read so much about the 1100's and the Crusades that I'm finding myself tiring of it as well. I guess we all go through this. Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  2. I am familiar with the name Gracelin O'Malley, but I am not sure I have read hers story before.

    Thanks for sharing your review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Very English Murder by Verity Bright (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery) Book One

  Publication Date: April 3, 2020 Length: 300 pages As a Mom of two very busy teens I mistakenly thought, "oh during summer I'm going to get so much reading and reviewing done!" Wrong! I'm so behind on the Historical Fiction Challenge I'm embarrassed but.....I also have found it has been great for me in a new way to feel like I'm not able to read constantly. And that silver lining is that I have discovered so many adorable, short, easy to read books, especially cozy fiction and cozy mysteries that I am enjoying these shorts bursts of reading when I can knock out a book or two in a relatively short amount of time. Normally I feel pressure to read either long books or deep, meaningful books but as I get older I'm realizing it's okay to read things that are fun and quick!  This book is a delight. It is like reading a mystery that takes place in Downton Abbey. And if you are familiar with the show you know that everyone loves Mr. Carson, the butler. In thi

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

  Publication Date: November 23, 2021 Length: 928 pages Hello book lovers! This is my first blog and first review of a book so bear with me as I navigate my way through this new adventure. I have signed up to be a part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022 and have chosen the Level Ancient History which requires me to read 25 historical fiction books this year and post a review about each book somewhere online. I have chosen to start a blog because I'd like to have my reviews all in one place so that I can easily look back on them throughout the challenge. Thank you to Marg at The Intrepid Reader and Helen at She Reads Novels for creating and promoting the challenge.  WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: My first book to review is Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon. Full disclaimer...this book is 928 pages and I read it from November 23rd to January 2nd so technically I finished it in 2022 but started it in 2021. It is so long that I'm going to just pat myself on th

Lionheart by Ben Kane

Publication Date: September 15, 2020 Length: 400 pages  I have to admit that reading historical fiction written by men has always been hit or miss for me. No disrespect to men....I love men! But sometimes their writing can lack all romance or personal touches beyond dates and battles. So the cover for this book is what really hooked me into trying it, shallow I know but I'm a sucker for all things Crusades and Richard the First. This was a well written piece of historical fiction. The author plans to make this a three part series and I will definitely be reading the next two books. We open Lionheart with a fictional character named Rufus. This is not his real name but one given to him by his captors. Right away I liked the style of the book, written in first person and giving us a running glimpse into the character's thoughts. Rufus is an Irish boy who has been given as a hostage to the English after his father and kin rebelled against them. He is lonely and depressed and treat