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Secret Spy from Drumshee by Cora Harrison









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Secret Spy from Drumshee by Cora Harrison
Published by Wolfhound Press, 2003

Reviewed by Kilmihil Children’s Book Club

This book is set in 1828 and Daniel O’Connell is running for election to Parliament. The McMahon family are staunch supporters of Daniel O’Connell and are all very excited about the election that will take place in Ennis.

Ronan and Mary Ann are twins. Their mother died when they were babies and they live with their father and uncle on the farm in Corofin. Their father, Michael, is a carpenter and they dream of one day moving to France to live in the sunshine. Ronan is a wheelchair user and cannot speak very clearly, but Mary Ann always knows what he wants and what he says. Most people who meet Ronan think because he has a disability he doesn’t understand things, but he is an extremely clever child and refers to these people as ‘stupid’.

When the Election Day comes, they all travel to Ennis to vote and the children go to see the sights of the town. Mary Ann is an actress and loves to make up plays. She tells Ronan that there is a plot to kill Daniel O Connell and that it’s up to Ronan and herself to save him. Ronan enjoys the play acting, but decides to watch Daniel O’Connell in case something happens to him.

On their first day in Ennis voting is slow and the farmers are told to go home and come back again the next day. They decide to camp on the banks of the river and stay in Ennis to vote. Ronan, his father and Mary Ann are offered a bed in the barn of Carmody’s hotel. Mary Ann helps the Carmody’s out by waiting on tables and Ronan is left to sleep in a room off the dining room. He overhears two men discussing how they are going to kill O’Connell if he gets elected. Ronan decides not to tell Mary Ann or his father and watches over O’Connell to make sure nothing happens to him. With the help of his sister Mary Ann, his friend Jimmy, a very greedy little pig and a big dog called Bruno he becomes the hero of the day.

This book was a popular choice with the Kilmihil Book Club. They would definitely read more of this Timeline series of books. Some of the children thought that it would be a book about politics and that they wouldn’t enjoy it, but were pleasantly surprised as it was an exciting and sometimes funny read.

Rating 8 out of 10.

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