So this is another review from the archives of email inbox, I’m steadily getting through them at some pace now so if you do have a book you would like reviewing pop me an email at mylittlebookblog.com or take a look at my review requests page. I reviewed the book fireflies a couple of months ago now, not realising that this is actually the prequel, although saying that I’m glad I read them that way around in retrospect. Either way a lovely heart-warming read sure to get you through the cold spring nights; wonderfully lovely.
When Owen Whelan revealed his secret, he was set free from a haunting past and an uncertain future for his son, Ennis. However, in order to know the true depths of his heart, first we must follow him all the way back to a dirt road on a chilly and bitter spring dawn in Ireland. Behind the locked doors of his memories and hidden beneath shame, hunger and eventually escape, we learn the true meaning of the proverb, “There’s hope from the ocean but none from the grave.” Owen’s journey will teach him that sometimes you have to cross that ocean not only to survive but to finally find love, life and become the man worthy of your own admiration and respect. There are turning points in life you cannot come back from but if you’re brave enough, you can begin again.
As the blurb suggests the book follows the lives of two orphans who after their parent’s deaths are taken into care by their relatives. The book follows the two as they discover life in the poor rural landscape they are forced to live in. It gives a real glimpse into Owen’s past and allows us as readers to really delve into the character we see. We get to really experience the relationships that he has encountered especially in terms of his brother Dillion but also his Uncle Dan and family. I’ve read a number of books recently that, rather than relying on being a book from a certain ‘genre’ tend to amble along, weaving a plot line through the characters, rather than forcing them into things. Does that make sense? I guess the easiest way to explain it, is that it feels as though the author started with a plot idea and ran with it; beginning to end in that order. Here it works brilliantly. I also thought the title was very evocative of this relating to Owen returning to Ireland to face up to his past.
Technically, as like Fireflies the description and writing is spot-on and spell-bounding. It has a real ability to place you right into the story; the scenery, the clothing on the characters backs, even the food is given so much time and effort to pull you into the story. I adore description because books are for an escape and being able to immerse myself so wholly in the book was really enjoyable. Sometimes I read books and I’m reading almost for the sake of it, but here I really wanted to read more and explore more. The pace is a little languid at times however it works with the plot of the book as a whole. For me a book with a slower pace if the writing is exceptional it is no problem at all. I liked the inclusion of the Irish language it’s always lovely to have it integrated as it helps to really connect the reader to the plot.
I really enjoyed reading this book, in too many reviews I feel I’m stating that I adore the plot but the characters just don’t bring it too life, or it feels a little false. Here, the characters leapt from the pages and came and sat around me as I dutifully read. It brought a warm and fuzzy feeling and one that I haven’t felt for a little while. I felt a lot of emotion reading it too; tears to laughter I was incredibly sad but also uplifted as I turned the last page. So, I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for somethingto read. No it might not get up and punch you in the jaw but it will make you think, you will be moved and you will want to read more from this author. I can almost guarantee it.