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Recommended Reads - Fiction

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard  

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard
Published by Blackstone Publishing in 2019

An explosive story about a murder caught on a hidden camera in Shanaway Holiday Cottages, where Andrew the manager watches his only guest in her room. Who is the murderer and how did they know about the camera? To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking it is!

‘A great read with loads of twists in the plot.’ - Recommended by a Kilrush Library staff member

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe  

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe
Published by Penguin Books in 2020

Winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2019 and with good reason. Lizzie Vogel and her eccentric family return in this laugh-out-loud, moving read with real heart. Lizzie begins her journey to adulthood as a dental assistant to the inept Dr. Wintergreen whilst living in a flat above the practice and starting a slow-burning romance with Andy, who becomes her free-spirited mother’s lodger. A charming coming of age book, set in the 1980’s, that will have you reaching for Stibbe’s other Vogel novels.

‘Read this a few months ago and loved it.’ - Recommended by a Shannon Library staff member

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton  

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton
Published by Picador in 2018

A riveting read, told energetically with no punches pulled. Two disparate characters form a relationship which enables them to grow past their life experiences as harsh and parched as the Australian desert in which the story unfolds.
The boy’s background is heart breaking and gives a very good understanding of why teenage boys can come across as tough on the outside.

‘Absolutely loved this book.’ - Recommended by a Scariff Library member

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See  

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Published by Scribner in 2017

This is a powerful and thought provoking novel about the changing lives of the Akha people, an ethnic minority living on the mountains in China. Li Yan lives with her family here, they obey Akha rules and harvest tea on the terraces to survive.
When outsiders visit and begin to purchase the teas, their lives change in many ways. The story is mainly based on Li Yan and the trials and hardships she had to endure and overcome, and the daughter she had to give up, who was adopted and lives in America.
I must admire the author for the research that was carried out on both China, Pu - Erh tea trading and harvesting, and how it added so much to the story. As it was set in the recent past it resonated even more with the reader. The difficulties encountered by the adopted Chinese children in America, was also delved into – this was the first, but not the last Lisa See book I’ll read. This was our book for this month’s book club and I must say I enjoyed it immensely.

Recommended by Kilkee Library bookclub

Anatomy of a Scandal by Susan Vaughan   Anatomy of a Scandal by Susan Vaughan
Published by Simon and Schuster in 2018

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. The wife is sure that her husband is innocent and desperately tries to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Meanwhile the barrister who will prosecute the case is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

“This is a fast-paced contemporary read. I really enjoyed it.”

Recommended by a deValera Library staff member

When All is Said by Anne Griffin  

When All is Said by Anne Griffin
Published by Sceptre in 2019

Maurice Hannigan sits alone at the bar of a hotel in a small Irish town raising a toast to those who have meant most to him. His story is tragic and heart-warming and tells the tales of times past. This town could be any town in Ireland and will resonate with all of us. Anne Griffin writes beautifully and this story will raise many emotions in the reader.

Recommended by a Kilmihil Library staff member

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay  

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay
Published by Orion in 2018

Eight months ago Paul found two dead bodies in the back of a co-worker’s car. He was attacked, left for dead and now gets confused and has sudden panic attacks. He hears things no one else can – either he’s losing his mind or someone wants him to think he is.

“I love Linwood Barclay’s thrillers and this is possibly his best yet. Plenty of suspense and twists throughout – an excellent read.”

Recommended by a Kilkee Library staff member

Middle England by Jonathan Coe  

Middle England by Jonathan Coe
Published by Viking in 2018

A topical book which begins in 2010 and tells the story of a group of friends in the UK living through a tumultuous period culminating in the lead up to Brexit in 2018. From the highs of the London Olympics to the lows of the Brexit referendum, this is an insightful look at the times in which we’re living and the reasons why our nearest neighbour chose the Brexit route. It is told through the eyes of ordinary citizens as they go about their daily lives while cracks appear in society and start to show within families and between generations. It is a light-hearted read with plenty of humour from a writer the Observer called ‘a writer of uncommon decency’. The characters have previously appeared in The Rotters’ Club but the book can be read separately. It was an enjoyable read, a gentle way to understand the complexities of British society.

Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member

  The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Published by Little, Brown in 2019

In an isolated part of Australia, the Bright brothers are each other's nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart. When Cameron Bright is found dead from dehydration beside a local landmark, 9km from where his well-stocked Land Cruiser is parked, everyone is baffled. The assumption is suicide, but older brother Nathan – ostracised by the sparse local population for reasons that become clear– isn’t convinced. After an uncomfortable return to the family home, he discovers that the rest of his family have secrets to hide. Fabulously atmospheric, the book starts slowly and gradually picks up pace towards a jaw-dropping finale.

Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member

Dublin Palms by Hugo Hamilton
Published by HarperCollins in 2019

If you have read Hamilton’s The Speckled People, and I recommend you do, you will find that the protagonist in this, his latest book, delves deeper into the same themes of belonging and preoccupation with the desire to feel at home in one’s rightful place. Like the author the narrator is born to a German mother and an Irish nationalist father and grows up in a multi-lingual home. Working through everyday family events and experiences he has to contend with a job that has become just a means of surviving and the collapse of his and his wife’s business, a wellness café modelled on one they used to frequent in Berlin. As the creditors harass them for payments, Sean, Helen and their two children contemplate leaving everything behind. Is this the right decision? What will change and will it be for the better?

This is not an action-packed novel but a powerful thought-provoking read that is subtly full of suspense.

Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member


Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan
Published by Headline Review in 2019

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple. Until the day she comes home unexpectedly and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour. Poor Roxy begins to question all aspects of her life – her marriage, her father’s business that she had taken over - and make decisions about her future and that of her family. Things have to change.

A great read, very humorous and enjoyable, kept me reading right to the last page!

Recommended by a staff member at Kilrush Library


This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Published by Headline Review in 2017

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever. A novel everyone should read.

Recommended by Sixmilebridge Library Bookclub

The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien   The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien
With a foreword by Eimear McBride
Published by Faber & Faber 2019

This trilogy contains the novels The Country Girls, The Lonely Girls and Girls in Their Married Bliss, all originally published in the 1960s. In them we meet Caithleen (Kate) Brady and Baba Brennan, two country girls growing up in County Clare, mid-west rural Ireland. We join them on their journey of friendship, love, loss and their efforts to escape the ties of not just their rural lifestyle but also the ties that bind them as young women in a male-dominated world.

In The Country Girls Kate and Baba are dealing with the many issues of maturing from young girls to young women and moving from their countryside homes to bigger, not necessarily better, surroundings. It is a coming of age novel with a story that was all too common at the time it was written.

In The Lonely Girl the two country girls have entered their twenties and are living in a boarding house in Dublin. Kate is still on her romantic quest to find true love while Baba continues her search for adventure and fun. Their differences cause inevitable conflict and push them further apart.

The last book of the trilogy, Girls in Their Married Bliss, sees a change in the narrative style with two narrators alternating throughout. The girls move further afield to London and, despite the book’s title, continue to struggle to find the bliss they desire in life.

These novels were written in a time when being open about sexuality and the hardship women endured was not considered acceptable. They were, in fact, banned and some accounts claim that the priest in Edna O’Brien’s home parish burned the books on the church grounds. They were revolutionary and set O’Brien aside as being way ahead of her time. These novels, along with her subsequent works, are testament to her determination, both as a writer and a woman, to portray the female experience with honesty, realism and wit.

Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain   Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain
Published by Quercus in 2019

“Death stalked the Vale. In every corner. Every whisper. They just didn’t know it yet. Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.
In the gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. But there’s just one problem. Olive Collins dead body has been rotting inside number four for the past three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished. The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless façade begins to crack”.

This book was a great read. Behind each front door is a web of lies and deceit. Each family member had their own flaws and secrets and differing opinions of their dead neighbour. Everyone had their own reasons to want Olive Collins dead but I had to read it to the last page to find out how Olive died! Really enjoyed it.

Recommended by a Kilrush Library staff member

Dissolution by C J Sansom   Dissolution by C J Sansom
Published by Macmillan in 2003

This is the first in the Matthew Shardlake series of books by Sansom. It’s set in 16th century and begins with the lawyer Matthew Shardlake being summoned to Westminster by his boss Thomas Cromwell. An investigator who had gone to a monastery to begin the dissolution of same has been brutally murdered. Matthew and his apprentice Mark Poer have to go to Scarnsea monastery to find out what happened and just who is responsible for the murder. Unfortunately, the murders don’t end there…

This was a really good read, a very nicely woven story and it was enjoyed by most of our bookclub. It gave a really good picture of society at that time – people were ruled by fear and there was so much uncertainty with all the changes that came with the dissolution of the Catholic Church in England. Shardlake was a likeable character who was fundamentally good, but naïve to a lot of evils done for advancement and status. This book sees him question things that he believes to be true, and has him change some of his views on the people he admired.

Recommended by Kilkee Library Bookclub

Twelve Thousand Days by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne   Twelve Thousand Days by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne
Published by Blackstaff Press 2018

This book is a memoir telling the story of the author’s thirty-year relationship with her late husband, folklorist Bo Almqvist. In it she eloquently deals with the topics of love, loss and grief and makes candid observations on Irish life and culture and the shortfalls of the Irish health system. She tells the familiar story of the one who is left behind after a partner leaves this world and the plethora of emotions and responsibilities tied in with that. She also gives a deep insight into the relationship she shared with her husband, going right back to when she met him in college, allowing the reader to see parts of their relationship that one might expect to remain private. In fact, the author emerges as a very private person but it makes the information she shares all the more honest and real. Dermot Bolger described this book, in The Irish Times, as being “a memoir nobody would wish to ever have to write but the journey of loss it charts that will chime with readers who know the double-edged price of love”.

Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver   Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Published by Faber & Faber in 2018

How could two hardworking people do everything right in life, a woman asks, and end up destitute? Willa Knox and her husband followed all the rules as responsible parents and professionals, and have nothing to show for it but debts and an inherited brick house that is falling apart. The magazine where Willa worked has folded; the college where her husband had tenure has closed. Their dubious shelter is also the only option for a disabled father-in-law and an exasperating, free-spirited daughter. When the family’s one success story, an Ivy-educated son, is uprooted by tragedy he seems likely to join them, with dark complications of his own.

In another time, a troubled husband and public servant asks, How can a man tell the truth, and be reviled for it? A science teacher with a passion for honest investigation, Thatcher Greenwood finds himself under siege: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting work just published by Charles Darwin. His young bride and social-climbing mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his worries that their elegant house is unsound. In a village ostensibly founded as a benevolent Utopia, Thatcher wants only to honor his duties, but his friendships with a woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor threaten to draw him into a vendetta with the town’s powerful men.

Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult  

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2018

A Spark of Light is set in a centre for women's reproductive health in Mississippi where a gunman has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage. The book unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point. And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.

“As usual Picoult tackles controversial subject coaxing us out of our prejudices and preconceptions and invites us to things through the eyes of those with different opinions to our own. A very timely book in light of the change in abortion legislation in Ireland.” - a Clare County Library staff member

The importance of being Aisling by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen.   The importance of being Aisling by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen.
Published by Gill Books in 2018

Aisling is 29 and she's still a complete Aisling. After a tough year, things between herself and John are back on track, and life with Sadhbh and Elaine in their Dublin apartment is more craic than ever. But when a shock change means moving Down Home might be her only option, Aisling is thrown. Can she give up the sophistication of brunch and unlimited Pinot Greej? Will she and Mammy kill each other living back under the same roof? And where does that leave her and John? When a girls' trip to Vegas gives Aisling some unexpected confidence, she decides it's time to grab Ballygobbard by the horns. Hilarious funny – book number 3 is on the way.

Recommended by a Clare County Library staff member.

The Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky   The Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky
Published by Harper in 2007

“This novel is a tense family drama with a few twists along the way. A story of two families looking into their past to get answers for the present. The Family Tree is a compelling read and makes it hard to put the book down until you get to the last page.”

Recommended by a Kilmihil Library member

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson  

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson
Published by Two Roads in 2018

This debut novel by Sally Magnusson, writer and broadcaster, is based on real events from 1627 when Barbary pirates raided Iceland and abducted 400 men, women and children. These people were brought to Algiers to be sold as slaves. One abducted family consisted of a pastor, his pregnant wife and two children. This is the fictionalised account of Asta, the pastor’s wife. The story tells how Asta copes with separation from her homeland and family, life in the harem, exposure to another culture and her relationship with Cilleby, the slave-owner. Asta is a storyteller and the Icelandic sagas provide comfort and escapism as she adapts to her new life. Historical accounts remain from this time including one from Asta’s husband Olafur but the voices of women were silent. Magnusson choose the female voice to look at the themes of exile, slavery and motherhood and Asta’s story is engrossing and memorable.

In 1631, the village of Baltimore, Co Cork was also raided by Barbary pirates. The Baltimore villagers were also sold as slaves in Algiers. That story can be found in Des Ekin’s ‘The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates’.

Recommended by Dolores, a Library HQ staff member.

Snap by Belinda Bauer  

Snap by Belinda Bauer
Published by Bantam Press in 2018

On a stifling summer’s day Jack & his two sisters sit in their broken down car waiting for their mother who has gone for help to come back for them. But she never comes back and life as the children know it has changed forever.
A great crime novel, full of suspense, makes you wonder what really goes on behind closed doors!

Recommended by Dianne, a Kilrush Library staff member.

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler  

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Published by Chatto and Windus in 2018

When does one learn to live life on one’s own terms, and not on the terms of those supposedly our nearest and dearest? This is the dilemma faced by Willa Drake in Anne Tyler’s new novel though she is largely unaware of it for most of the book. Self-awareness and self-realization comes slowly and painfully to Willa at the age of sixty-one and at no little personal cost.

We first encounter Willa as an eleven year old child in Pennsylvania and we later see her as a college student in Illinois in the late seventies before her married life in Southern California. A second marriage takes her to Tucson, Arizona. Fate, chance and mishap takes her to Baltimore in 2017, when Willa is 61, and she begins unexpectedly to feel a sense of true family, community, belonging and self-awareness.

"Written with Tyler’s usual elegance and guile, Clock Dance is a heart-warming and life-affirming study of an ordinary American life with an engaging cast of characters – not all of them likeable – and the lessons to be learned when we finally wish to live our lives to suit ourselves and not be taken for granted by others". - a Local Studies staff member

Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearse   Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearse
Published by Picador in 2018

Emmeline Lake works in a couple of part time jobs in 1940s London. One of these jobs is to answer phonecalls after German bombs are dropped on the city. She applies for another job in a newspaper to fulfil her dream of becoming a war correspondent but is disappointed to be assigned to assist the paper’s agony aunt. But Emmeline finds a way to expand her role!

"This funny book provides a great insight into the everyday lives of women in London during World War 2". - a Sixmilebridge Library member

Don't Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon   Don't Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon
Published by Corvus in 2017

I read this books on Borrowbox – the library’s eBook service. This was my first read from Holly Seddon and I loved it - a thriller with a twist - unlikeable adult characters that ruin their children’s futures with their selfishness. I found it hard to put down and was grabbing a quick read whenever I got the chance. I have another of Holly Seddon’s books on reserve on Borrowbox! - a Kilmihil Library staff member

I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll   I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
Published by Thomas and Mercer in 2017

The opening chapter sets the scene for this novel. A woman on a train journey overhears two males strike up a conversation with two teenage girls. She debates warning these girls to be careful of their new found friends, decides to say nothing and concentrates instead on her own journey ahead. She awakes to terrible news the following morning and the fallout of her decision begins.
The story is told from a different character’s perspective in each chapter and slowly the truth comes out.

"This book is a real page turner, and I read it in two sittings. I really enjoyed it and have ordered more books by this author who I had never heard of before". - a Kilrush Library staff member

Mermaid & Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar   Mermaid & Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Published by Penguin Random House in 2018

Based on her dissertation this book has received a lot of hype from publishers. But it is completely merited – as it is a very well researched book – the story developed from a ‘real mermaid’ found in the British Museum. The author began writing fiction about unusual objects that she found in museums where she worked. But her research is evident throughout the book even down to the typeset that she chose.

The story begins with Jonah Hancock, a merchant, being given a mermaid in 1785 London. He decides to put it on display and meets up with Mrs Chappell who runs a brothel who wants to get it for her clients. She entreats Angelica Neal, one of her former girls, the heroine, to try to entice the mermaid away from Jonah.
The parallels between the women in the novel and the mermaid are obvious. They are trapped in their worlds but do their best to improve their situation by using their wiles. These are well rounded characters – earthy, bawdy and likeable and the story goes at a great pace.

“This is great historical fiction with similar to Austen & Dickens. I would totally recommend.” - a DeValera Library staff member

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth  

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Published by Hodder in 2018

“This book wasn’t my usual choice of reads, I’m more a thriller reader!
It had a feel of “Desperate Housewives” with the setting in a small suburb of Pleasant Court, three women each with their own secrets and an obsession with their new neighbour! I oved how the story went from present day to past events, made me laugh out loud and then tear up for the characters, who all had their own struggles despite the perfect happy family image that their neighbours saw.

A very enjoyable read, will be looking for more books by this author.” - a Kilrush Library staff member

Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park  

Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park
Published by Bloomsbury in 2018

A frozen winter setting with a father embarking on a roadtrip to bring his sick son home from a snowed-in Sunderland University where all the Christmas flights home are grounded, this book brings the father on his own personal journey through the struggles of a family in a crisis and his own inner turmoil.

“Beautifully written book, with many references to historical events that take us all on this personal journey. Loved this book!” - a Kilrush Library staff member

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie   Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Published by Bloomsbury in 2017

Home Fire is told through the viewpoints of its 5 main characters. Isma Pasha, a young woman who is finally free from the responsibility of raising her younger siblings after their mother's death; her twin siblings Aneeka and Parvaiz; Karamat Lone, a powerful British Muslim politician and his son Eamonn. The lives of the two families become inextricably, devastatingly entwined when Parvaiz decides to join ISIS after discovering that his absent father died en route to Guantánamo.

Home Fire is a novel about love, family loyalty and sacrifice. It offers an insight into the lives of Muslims in a world that often regards them with suspicion, and into how young men can so easily become radicalised.

“It took a while to get into this book but overall we found it an absorbing read.” - Kilkee Library Bookclub

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney  

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney
Published by Sphere in 2018

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

“Excellent book. Great read” – a Sixmilebridge reader

Dark Pines by Will Dean  

Dark Pines by Will Dean
Published by Point Blank in 2018

A thriller set in Sweden. This is Dean’s debut novel, told through its reporter heroine Tuva Moodyson, a young deaf woman working for the local paper. A pair of eyeless hunters are found dead in the woods – a chilling read, with a twist in the tale.

Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin  

Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Published by Faber in 2010

Willy Vlautin's third novel offers an insight into an America rarely seen in Hollywood movies. Vlautin's America is a place of deep poverty and isolation where the ‘American Dream’ doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Lean on Pete is seldom heartwarming but very real. Vlautin’s prose is sparse and beautiful but it is his characters that really stop you in your tracks. An excellent book.” – Scariff Library Bookclub

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney   Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Published by Faber & Faber in 2017

This modern story is centred on the character of Frances, a young Trinity College student and those that orbit around her. She is an aspiring writer and now performs Spoken Word Poetry with her close friend Bobbi. Bobbi is an anarchic character who prides herself on her non-conformity yet lives on inherited wealth. Ex-lovers, Frances and Bobbi continue to be entwined in each other’s lives. They meet photographer/writer Melissa who offers to do a profile of them. They become increasingly involved in Melissa’s adult world, meeting her actor husband Nick and becoming embroiled in their complicated marriage. Set in Dublin with a sojourn in France, the characters inhabit the Arts world and scene settings include plays, book launches and poetry performances.

"The book gives an insight into the world of young Irish people – sexually liberated, educated, articulate yet pressured to “act unfazed”. Conversations often centre on culture, art, friendship and politics and take place through emails and instant messaging as well as conventional interactions. An emotionally-intelligent read, Frances belongs to the world of Dublin literati but still faces battles with low self-esteem, parental concerns and physical illness". - a Clare County Library staff member

Sally Rooney will perform with Mary Morrissy at The Friday Night Festival Club at the Temple Gate Hotel at 10pm on Friday 2nd March as part of the 2018 Ennis Bookclub Festival.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult   Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2016

Jodi Picoult tackles the issue of race and prejudice in this absorbing read. Ruth Jefferson is a maternity nurse in a Connecticut hospital. She is asked to do a routine checkup on a newborn baby but the parents ask for her to be reassigned because they do not want her to touch their child. Why? Because they are white supremacists and Ruth is African-American. When the baby dies, Ruth is blamed and charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public attorney, takes her case and the story encompasses the trial and how it affects Ruth, her family and Turk, the baby's father.

'The story is a topical one with current race relations in the US and provides an interesting glimpse of how ingrained racism can be and how the beliefs of white supremacy continue to prevail. Jodi Picoult has often tackled modern issues in her books but this tale of racism is a thought-provoking read.' - a Shannon Library bookclub member

Can You Keep a Secret by Karen Perry   Can You Keep a Secret by Karen Perry
Published by Penguin in 2017

Twenty years since Lindsey has seen her best friend Rachel or set foot in Thornbury Hall - the now crumbling home of the Bagenal Family - where they spent so much time as teenagers. Since Patrick Bagenal's eighteenth birthday party, the night everything changed. Patrick has decided on one last hurrah before closing the doors of his family home for good. It’s not long before secrets begin to float to the surface. But some secrets should never be told.

‘This book was a real page turner, great plot and characters, kept my interest to the very last page. I thoroughly enjoyed it!’ - a Kilrush Library staff member
The One That Got Away by Annabel Kantaria   The One That Got Away by Annabel Kantaria
Published by Harper Collins in 2017

It’s been fifteen years since Stella last met George, an old flame from her schooldays. Despite the relationship ending badly, something makes Stella click ‘yes’ to the class reunion invite, knowing that George will possibly be there. There is still a spark between them and despite the fact that George is now happily married to Ness, they have an affair. Thus begins a roller-coaster of ups and down for all involved with unforeseen and tragic consequences.

‘A gripping read from start to finish with twists and turns throughout. Once you start reading this book you will not want to put it down.’ - a Miltown Malbay Library staff member

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr   All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Published by Harper Collins 2015

A beautifully written novel about a six year old blind girl called Marie Laure and a boy called Werner. The story revolves around how their paths converge during World War II. Marie Laure and her father take refuge in the Brittany coast when the Nazis invade Paris. Werner on the other hand is an orphan and is gifted at repairing and fixing radios which enables him to track the Resistance. After travelling through Hitler Youth and into Russia, it is in Saint-Malo that Marie Laure and Werner eventually meet.

‘A truly inspiring book from cover to cover. It captures the complexities of World War II and the love that survives hardship’ – a Miltown Malbay bookclub member

The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam   The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam
Published by Faber and Faber 2017

This beautifully written book tells the story of religious intolerance in modern day Pakistan. Pakistan is deeply divided along religious lines of Muslin and Christian, but is also divided from its nearby neighbour of India. Suspicion and extreme brutality are constant features of life here. Yet, Aslam, writes exquisite, deeply moving stories of love and loyalty despite the visceral violence present in all segments of society.

The story opens with Nargis and her husband, Massud attending the opening of a new library. Shots ring out and Massud is killed. Under pressure from Pakistani secret intelligence, Nargis fears her deepest secret will be revealed. She, her surrogate daughter Helen and Imran, a mysterious stranger seek refuge on an island. Here love, hope and resilience blossom despite all.

‘I found this book to be an enlightening read as I knew so little about Pakistan and its divided society. It is also beautifully written filled with visual images such as the paper buildings hanging in the architect’s library.’ – a DeValera Library staff member

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne   The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Published by Doubleday in 2017

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

‘This is a very emotive book, gives a greater understanding of social pressures. You will laugh and cry and you won’t want to put it down!!!!’ - a Lisdoonvarna Library staff member

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles   A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Published by Hutchinson in 2016

On 21 June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. However, instead of being taken to his usual suite as a guest, he is instead led to an attic room and is sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. Thus begins the story of his life inside the small confines of this room.

‘A wonderfully written book, to be read slowly and savoured and most enjoyable for anyone interested in Russian history.’ - Miltown Malbay Bookclub

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline   Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Published William Morrow in 2013

This was an amazing story covering the past and the present of two orphans. Molly is living with foster parents, Dina and Ralph. She is caught 'stealing' a book from the library and has to serve 20 hours on a service project. Her project is to help 90 year old Vivian clean out her attic. Vivian and Molly talk about Vivian's life in America, her journey starting out travelling across the Atlantic Ocean on a ship to Ellis Island. Her family dies in a fire and so she is put on an 'Orphan Train', a train full of orphans looking for foster families. While cleaning out the attic, Molly takes a visit into Vivian's past, learning about her journey on the Orphan Train.

‘A really good book based on a true story – an eye opener.’ – Sixmilebridge Library Bookclub

  Tin Man by Sarah Winman
Published by Tinder Press 2017

This is a story of friendship and love and the power of art to make a difference in a life. The opening narration is by 46-year-old Ellis. His mother had a great appreciation of art which she passed on to Ellis. However, following her death when Ellis was still a teenager, his father refused to entertain his plan of becoming an artist. Ellis now works night shifts in an Oxford car plant and is a widower living a lonely life.
The second narrator is Michael, best friend of Ellis since childhood. He tells of his life in London and his memories of their special times together, including a trip to the south of France where, for a brief period, they were lovers.

‘The writing is powerful, the story is poignant and the language is beautiful. You’ll want to read it in one sitting but it’ll stay with you for far longer.’ - a Clare County Library staff member

The Good People by Hannah Kent   The Good People by Hannah Kent
Published by Picador in 2017

Nora struggles to care for her grandson following the death of her daughter and her husband. Mary arrives in the valley to help Nóra just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Set in 1820s Kerry and based on a true story, this book shows the depths to which people in desperate circumstances are driven.

‘A compelling, though disturbing, book. Very atmospheric. People who enjoyed Burial Rites will not be disappointed.’ - a reader in DeValera Library, Ennis.

The Witness by Simon Kernick   The Witness by Simon Kernick
Published by Century in 2016

When Jane Kinnear sees her lover being murdered, she suddenly finds herself in danger. Taken to an anonymous police safe house, it soon becomes clear that her lover was an MI5 informant with important information about an imminent terrorist attack.

‘A very entertaining book. The plot is superb and keeps the reader glued to the pages right to the end. I will be looking for more books by this author.’ - a reader in Tulla Library.

 Coffin Road by Peter May   Coffin Road by Peter May
Published by Quercus in 2016

A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road.

‘Great read – gripping from start to finish.’ - a reader in Sixmilebridge Library.

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