Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Review: The Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore

Pages: 576
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
Other Books In This Series: The Girl in the Castle
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Perched majestically atop the lush emerald hills of West Cork, Ireland, Castle Deverill has been the home to several generations of the Deverills. But when the castle fell prey to a devastating attack during the Irish revolt, the ancestral home’s survival was at stake—until Celia Mayberry and her husband buy the estate and vow to restore Castle Deverill to its former glory. For Celia, the castle holds many fond childhood memories when she ran through its vast halls with her cousin Kitty Deverill and their cherished friend Bridie Doyle. But not everyone is elated. Although Kitty is grateful to her cousin for purchasing the manor and ensuring it will remain in the family, she cannot help but be wistful for the days when she was the mistress of Castle Deverill. While she is content in her new life with her husband Robert and her adopted son JP, her heart still yearns for Jack O’Leary—the man she cannot have. As Kitty struggles with her choices, she must make a heartbreaking decision that could bring her the greatest joy, but hurt those closest to her. Now wealthy and the toast of the town in New York City, Bridie Doyle has come a long way since she was a young girl in Ireland and the daughter of one of the maids at Castle Deverill. But all her money cannot ease the pain over giving away her baby. When she finds love, she is tempted to return to her beloved homeland—even if it means she will have to face the woman she still longs to seek revenge against. As Celia wastes no time, or expense, in hiring workers to renovate Castle Deverill—even when the country soon finds itself in the midst of the Great Depression—she has no idea that her world is about to be shattered. Now everything that felt so certain is cast into doubt as this daughter of Ireland must find the inner strength to build a new future."

Celia, Kitty's cousin, somehow by sheer luck and marrying into a wealthy family, is able to buy Deverill Castle and while it's great they are keeping it in the family, it's still a loss to Kitty.  Celia and her wealthy husband plan on restoring the castle to its original state while also adding in some of those extravagant modern amenities.  Meanwhile Kitty is living in a smaller house nearby and although she should be happy with her husband and her adopted son, she can't help but long for Jack.  Also, Bridie is living in New York City essentially as a socialite and rubbing elbows with society's elite.  Her past days of being a maid at the castle are long gone, but she can't forget about the child she gave up. Essentially, she can't run from her past. The Great Depression is looming overhead and it will impact the Deverills, especially Celia.  The second book in this riveting historical series is fantastic.  If you like historical fiction that is compelling, is a sweeping family saga with a gorgeous Irish setting, give this series a try. The Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore doesn't disappoint.

I really enjoyed the character of Kitty in the first book of this series and while I still enjoyed her in The Daughters of Ireland, I didn't necessarily agree with her every move.  Her relationship with Jack is heartbreaking.  I understand why they can't be together, but it was still upsetting and definitely tugged on my heartstrings.  I also understood her resentment of Celia. While she appreciates the fact that Celia "rescued" the castle from demise, it still upsets her that she isn't mistress of the castle. It's only natural and I liked that Kitty grappled with that.


Celia is a major focus in The Daughters of Ireland and she was absolutely tiring. Her tirades about her renovations of the castle and her obsession with it was exhausting. Her husband kept reassuring her that all was well financially and it's no problem to spend thousands on something trivial, but readers knew with the Great Depression right around the corner that she should be worrying.   Celia deals with a lot in this novel. There's blackmail, family secrets, her husband's secrets, money issues, traveling, and untimely death.  Poor Celia is put through the ringer in this book.


Bridie is also a major character in The Daughters of Ireland and she goes through a lot as well. Mostly she still is pretty naive and makes some poor choices. I did feel badly for her as she has a hard time coping with the fact that she gave up her son and now Kitty is raising him. That's a tough pill to swallow. Even surrounded by so much wealth and the entire city at her fingertips, she is still unhappy. Things do get better for Bridie eventually, but not until she hits rock bottom.


I love the way Montefiore presents this family saga as well as female relationships. I can't wait to read book three and find out what's in store for the Deverills. I am starting to think this series is filling the void that Downton Abbey left. Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction and family sagas.





2 comments:

  1. Great review! This trilogy is so addicting. I have the final book but haven't read it yet. I loaned it to a friend and she loved it though.

    Bridie annoyed me in this one and Celia did too at first but I liked her more as things became more difficult for her and she became less frivolous. This series has such interesting characters. Can't wait to find out what happens next!

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    1. I agree! I am loving this series. I do agree Celia become more agreeable as the story progressed. I love all the characters...I agree! It's definitely one of, if not my favorite, historical series of the year! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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