I think we should get this out in the open before I do this review. I am a sucker for anything Irish.
And the Titanic.
And classy prostitute names such as Copper Clare.
I acquired this book many moons ago from Paperback Swap. Obviously The Swap had heard rumors of my Irish-Titanic-Redhead-Copper Clare- Oxtail Soup love and recommended the book. “Boy, do we have the book for you!”
They were right.
Ned Halloran has lost both his parents–and almost his own life–to the sinking of the Titanic . Determined to keep what little he has, he returns to his homeland in Ireland and enrolls at Saint Enda’s school in Dublin. Saint Enda’s headmaster is the renowned scholar and poet, Patrick Pearse–who is soon to gain greater fame as a rebel and patriot. Ned becomes totally involved with the growing revolution…and the sacrifices it will demand.
Through Ned’s eyes, 1916 examines the Irish fight for freedom–inspired by poets and schoolteachers, fueled by a desperate desire for independence, and played out in the historic streets of Dublin against the backdrop of World War I. It is the story of the brave men and heroic women who, for a few unforgettable days, managed to hold out against the might of the British Empire to realize an impossible dream.
Over 500 pages, this is a hefty read. Even though the book is a fictional novel, it has a whole cast of historical characters. It has details that you want to slowly absorb and embrace. I paced myself at 25 pages a night at bedtime. Those who have pledged to read 3,000 books by yearend will laugh at me. I think if you have experienced 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion you will agree with me, this work should be cherished at a leisurely pace.
That being said, even at a leisurely pace I would find myself confused by the host of historical characters at times. I don’t think this is the author’s fault, more likely the fault of the reader who had worked long hours, ate a giant dinner, then tucked into her super warm bed with heated mattress cover. This was an amazing rebellion and it took the efforts of many people. Shame on my pea brain not to remember this angry poet from that angry poet when I’m drowsy.
I adored the main character, Ned Halloran. You are introduced to him as he is taking a voyage with his parents on a grand ship! This ship is heading to America and they will be attending his sister’s wedding in New York. Oh, but why did the buy tickets for the Titanic?
I never thought I was going to get to the actual ass kicking! Call me a girl who loves some action, blame it on my Irish pride. I was ready for the boys to get out there and take back what was theirs. You must be patient though. If not you’ll find yourself feeling like Scarlett on the steps of Tara.
“Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war; this war talk’s spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream.”
There was one thing that was keeping me going when the ass kicking seemed to never come.
Father Paul O’Shaughnessy. A good looking priest holding up the faith, no matter how hard that may be at times. Father Paul has himself in an awkward situation. A damsel of the congregation is in distress and she is asking for house calls. Holy Temptation!
You good Catholics are probably saying, ‘Not a man of God! He couldn’t.’ I’m not religious, so I can say … Tap that religious ass, girlfriend!
That was probably too much.
An enjoyable aspect of the book for me was the Irish slang. I have promised to incorporate the saying, ‘Funnier looking that a fish with three ears.’
I have this awful habit of using the images of actors for my book characters. This is odd on several levels, but mostly because I don’t watch movies. I swear one of my biggest hang ups with Fifty Shades was my twisted brain spun Mr. Grey to look like this…
A woman receiving multiple orgasms from him was just not plausible to me.
In 1916, I pictured Padriac Pearse to look like this …
Here is my Willie Pearse …
Alexander Campbell to look like this. (Blaming this on the whole Titanic issue).
All fun, games and erotic priest aside, I loved this book. I agree with those readers who enjoyed the historical lesson without the classroom feel. There’s enough emotional storyline to keep you drawn in, even if the war comes or not. There were some unanswered questions in the end, but none that were uncalled for. The end of a book isn’t always supposed to spell out every little detail for you. Some books leave you to imagine all the endless possibilities on your own.
The next book for You Bought It, You Read It: Mandatory Release by Jess Riley.