Friday, September 10, 2021

Book Review: The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican

Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From London to Ireland during the 1920s, this glorious, gripping, and richly textured story takes us to the heart of the remarkable real-life story of the Guinness Girls—perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes' Belgravia.  Descendants of the founder of the Guinness beer empire, they were the toast of 1920s high society, darlings of the press, with not a care in the world. But Felicity knows better. Sent to live with them as a child because her mother could no longer care for her, she grows up as the sisters’ companion. Both an outsider and a part of the family, she witnesses the complex lives upstairs and downstairs, sees the compromises and sacrifices beneath the glamorous surface. Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens that sends shock waves through the entire household.  Inspired by a remarkable true story and fascinating real events, The Glorious Guinness Girls  is an unforgettable novel about the haves and have-nots, one that will make you ask if where you find yourself is where you truly belong."


Felicity, otherwise known as Fliss, is sent away to live with the Guinness girls as her mother can no longer care for her.  She is to be a companion to the three famous Guinness sisters.  As the years go by, Fliss is reminded that she technically isn't one of them, but she isn't exactly like the downstairs help either.  Where does she fit in? Being in their world means she is privy to all the high society functions, the gossip, and what it means to grow up with the world at your fingertips.  On the other hand, her brother, Hughie, is a big proponent of the Irish Free State. He reminds Fliss that there's change coming and the lifestyle that the Guinness family is accustomed to will soon be a distant memory.  In fact, it's Hughie who brings this to the Guinness sisters' attention and challenges their way of thinking. The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican is an interesting glimpse into the real-life Guinness sisters and I recommend it to fans of Downton Abbey.

Admittingly, I did not know much about the Guinness sisters before reading The Glorious Guinness Girls. I was surprised by how interesting their lives were. There's Aileen, Maureen, and Oonagh who are shining stars in the high society social scene. Each sister brings something different to the table. The one thing I liked about the story was how it was told from the perspective of Fliss, so we really got to understand things from an outside point of view. Even though the Guinness girls lived in the lap of luxury, just outside their gates there's so much turmoil.  

Speaking of Fliss, she is a compelling character in The Glorious Guinness Girls.  At first, she feels like an outsider. Can you blame her? Their world is so much different than hers, but as time goes on, she figures out her place and becomes an important person in the sisters' lives including her brother, Hughie, who reminds them that so much is going on outside of their palatial mansion. Hughie gets involved in the politics in Ireland and it will forever impact Fliss and the Guinness sisters.

My one issue with The Glorious Guinness Girls was the pacing. The middle of story was very slow at times and not much happened to really set this book apart from the other historical novels I've read this summer.  However, the setting of Ireland on the brink on the brink of independence really was the best part. I also appreciated learning more about the Guinness girls and their legacy. 

Have you read The Glorious Guinness Girls? Do you enjoy historical fiction? Let me know in the comments below. 



  1. This one is definitely on my TBR - I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan and the upstairs/downstairs struggles that Fliss faces sound really intriguing.

    1. If you like the whole upstairs/downstairs drama, this one would be a good fit for you! I didn't know much about the GG, so it was really interesting! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  2. I like that it’s set in Ireland instead of the UK, as is more common. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. It was definitely a nice change of pace. The time period/setting was fantastic. Thanks for visiting, Shelley!


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