Monday, February 28, 2011
The Yellow House...Review
The Yellow House delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life.
She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore.
Irish stories have always fascinated me and this one certainly sounded promising. The premise is good and the political history is interesting, although it got a bit laborious in parts. Some will argue that politics is inherent to Ireland and while they are correct, I didn't pick this book up for the history lesson, I wanted a people story. Unfortunately, the characters simply weren't people I cared about. Eileen, in particular, wasn't at all likeable. James' family, and his mother in particular, were annoying, cruel caricatures.
The fight for a free Ireland was fraught with anger, violence and heartache. This story, which follows the early days of the IRA and the freedom fighters, while somewhat compelling, isn't an uplifting or even moderately inspiring story. It's sad and depressing, even with the predictable ending. The book is also full of prolific profanity and the F word in any language or pronunciation is still the F word.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can learn more about Patricia Falvey here. You can purchase your own copy here.