A dramatic story of Ireland in revolt in the years after WW I that should appeal to fans of Maeve Binchy's intimate portrait of Irish village life and plucky Irishwomen. Julia Mangan and Sarah Quinlan are best friends in a poor Dublin neighborhood during the troubled 20's, when the IRA is beginning to agitate and the Anglo-Irish gentry inhabiting the big houses are feeling threatened after centuries of unquestioned privilege. Julia marries Jack Harte, newly home from the war, and is blissfully happy, living with her beloved husband among friends on the street where she grew up. Soon she has a baby, Ellie. But Sarah longs for grander things. Filled with her mother's tales of the years she spent as maid to Lady Glenivy of Glenivy Manor, Sarah takes a position as a servant there, only to find her position humiliating and prospectless. Things seem to take a turn for the better, however, when young Patrick Glenivy begins to visit her bedroom at night. In only a month Sarah is pregnant, cast off by Patrick, and banished from Glenivy. Quickly she takes up with her old Dublin boyfriend and makes him believe the baby she's carrying is his; they marry and she plots other ways to achieve her dreams of grandeur. With cold malice, she leaks false information to those who will pay for it that her friend Julia's husband, Jack, has been sheltering IRA fugitives; Jack is taken to the mountain by British thugs and shot. Years later, Patrick, the illegitimate son of Sarah and the young master of Glenivy, and Julia's daughter Ellie fall in love, opening the wound in Julia's heart that time has never fully healed. Julia must choose between cutting off her beloved daughter or accepting as her son-in-law the child of her husband's betrayers. Marred by a few improbable coincidences, but, still, an absorbing tale with the unique lilt and expansiveness of Irish storytelling.
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