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Revenge by Mary Stanley
Published by Headline Book Publishing 2003

Mary Stanley’s prose is powerful and gripping. This is her third book and is a beautifully crafted and polished piece of writing. The story is set in well-heeled, middle-class Dublin where the McHarg family – Millicent, her daughter-in-law Maria and her three granddaughters - live in comfortable female harmony for most of the year. George - Millicent’s son, Maria’s husband, the girls’ father - works abroad for most of the year and only occasionally spends time with his family.

The happy uneventful life of the household is shattered when the eldest daughter is assaulted on Christmas Eve. The theme of the book is a deep and dark one and the solutions presented are shocking. However, the characters are so skilfully and sympathetically drawn that the reader is carried along effortlessly to the end. While ‘Vengeance is mine, said the Lord’ is a sentiment generally accepted, we cannot pass judgement on Millicent when she gives the Lord a helping hand in doling out retribution.

This is the story of how the family coped with the appalling disruption of their lives, told from the viewpoints of the five female McHargs and their neighbour. The voices come across as separate engaging entities and capture the reader’s interest throughout the book. This definitely is a book to be savoured .

Reviewed by a Clare County Library Staff member.