Title: Trespasses

Author: Louise Kennedy

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

Cushla Lavery lives with her mother in a small town near Belfast. At twenty-four, she splits her time between her day job as a teacher to a class of seven-year-olds, and regular bartending shifts in the pub owned by her family. It’s here, on a day like any other – as the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploding, another man shot, killed, beaten or left for dead – that she meets Michael Agnew, an older (and married) barrister who draws her into his sophisticated group of friends.

When the father of a young boy in her class, becomes the victim of a savage attack, Cushla is compelled to help his family. But as her affair with Michael intensifies, political tensions in the town escalate, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.

As tender as it is unflinching, Trespasses is a masterfully executed and intimate portrait of those caught between the warring realms of the personal and political, rooted in a turbulent and brutally imagined moment of history – where it’s not just what you do that matters, but what you are.

The Review

I have been looking for a book with the Troubles at the centre of the story. Not so that I can relate to it. The Troubles didn’t affect me, I’m not Irish but I have wanted to learn more since reading the Kevin and Sadie books as a teenager. I’ve read a few but none have been as impactful as Trespasses by Louise Kennedy.

The story of Cushla Lavery and her conflicted feelings about her heritage versus her heart is a powerful read. For me, what makes it so compelling is the ordinariness of shocking events. The violence is presented as commonplace. That’s not to say that the characters in the story weren’t sympathetic or angered but just that they were almost used to it. Desensitised.

Trespasses is compelling and Cushla Lavery is a character I won’t forget for a very long time.

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy is available now.

For more information regarding Louise Kennedy (@KennedyLouLou) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@Bloomsbury Books) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Guard Your Heart

Author: Sue Divin

Pages: 337 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

Boy meets girl on the Northern Irish border in Guard Your Heart, by Sue Divin.

Derry. Summer 2016. Aidan and Iona, now eighteen, were both born on the day of the Northern Ireland peace deal.

Aidan is Catholic, Irish, and Republican. With his ex-political prisoner father gone and his mother dead, Aidan’s hope is pinned on exam results earning him a one-way ticket out of Derry. To anywhere.

Iona, Protestant and British, has a brother and father in the police. She’s got university ambitions, a strong faith and a fervent belief that boys without one track minds are a myth.

At a post-exam party, Aidan wanders alone across the Peace Bridge and becomes the victim of a brutal sectarian attack. Iona witnessed the attack; picked up Aidan’s phone and filmed what happened, and gets in touch with him to return the phone. When the two meet, alone and on neutral territory, the differences between them seem insurmountable. 

Both their fathers held guns, but safer to keep that secret for now.

Despite their differences and the secrets they have to keep from each other, there is mutual intrigue, and their friendship grows. And so what? It’s not the Troubles. But for both Iona and Aidan it seems like everything is keeping them apart , when all they want is to be together . . .

The Review

Guard Your Heart is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story set in Ireland that shows the modern day impact of the troubles and how years of prejudice still runs rife in the country. In this story Aiden (a catholic) and Iona (a protestant) are thrown together when Aiden is attacked and Iona films it on her phone. She manages to stop the attack by threatening to go to the police with the evidence. Iona and Aiden’s love story starts with this one act of selflessness.

Among this story of forbidden love, prejudice, and religion is a story of class difference. How a persons station in life is determined by so many different factors and the hopelessness that you feel can be overwhelming.

Overall, I really liked Guard Your Heart. At times, I did feel the pacing of the story was a bit slow but the final third of the novel had me reading as fast as I could and making me lose my breath. The sign of great writing in my opinion.

Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin is available now.

For more information regarding Sue Divin (@absolutelywrite) please visit www.suedivin.com.

For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Books (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Love Music Drugs War

Author: Geralindine Quigley

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Fig Tree

The Blurb

A tender, devastating coming-of-age debut novel about friendship, innocence and war

The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. But it’s hard to focus when there’s the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy ‘Cave’, where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. Through a fog of marijuana, beer and budding romance, the future is distant and unreal.

But this is Derry in 1981, and they can’t ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible, and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.

With humour and compassion, Geraldine Quigley reveals the sometimes slippery reasons behind the decisions we make, and the unexpected and intractable ways they shape our lives.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Love Music Drugs War is a book set in Ireland during the height of the troubles. It is about the disaffected nature of youth coupled with the onset of punk music and how easily people can slip through the net to become involved in situations much bigger and scarier than they can comprehend.

Quigley cleverly juxtaposes the relationships at the centre of the story alongside the threat of war with the mundanity of everyday life. She shows how the troubles in Ireland were just so normalised that you couldn’t separate them from your formative years in this backdrop.

Love Music Drugs War is an interesting fictional social document but works best when showing Ireland during this period rather than the focus on the relationships of fictions characters,

Love Music Drugs War by Graldine Quigley is available now.

For more information regarding Geraldine Quigley (@GeraldineQuigle) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Fig Tree (@Fig_Tree_Books) please visit the Twitter page.