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When the Bough Breaks by June Considine
Published by New Island Books, 2002

'When the Bough Breaks' is June Considine's debut as an adult fiction writer. She has for many years been a very successful and popular children's author. Judging by this book she will have an equally successful and popular career in the area of adult fiction. The story is a complicated one covering the lives of two sisters, Beth and Sara Tyrell, from 1957 to 2000. It covers all the issues that have arisen in this country during that time - child abuse, marriage breakdown, 'brown paper bags', illegitimacy, suicide, political corruption, et al. From this point of view it is perhaps a bit ambitious in trying to cover too many issues all at once. There are enough subjects touched upon to fill two or even three novels.

The characters and their relationships are well presented. The book concentrates on the relationships between the characters and how these relationships are affected by secrets from the past and by the emotional trauma suffered by victims of abuse. One of the most believable and annoying characters is the 'teflon' politician, Tom Oliver - probably because he has elements of some of the real life politicians who have appeared before recent Tribunals to account for their activities. Her characters are not nice - they are selfish, opinionated, greedy, unloving - in short very human. June Considine is a good story-teller and skilfully weaves the different story-lines together to produce a good read.

Reviewed by a Clare County Library staff member.