Book Review – ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ by Isabella Connor ~ 5 Stars!
Beneath an Irish Sky was such a stunningly beautiful read! I was lucky enough to win a copy in a giveaway by the publishers Choc Lit, and I can’t say how grateful I am. This story spoke so much to me, and is one of my favourite reads of 2013.
Isabella Connor is a pen name for two authors, so I was delighted to see how closely their writing styles matched. There was no indication that the book was written by two people, as the story and character development flowed so fluidly throughout the novel. I really admired how realistic the storyline was, giving readers a strong reminder of how common unjustified prejudice still is, and how this prejudice can cloud judgment and completely destroy families and communities apart. The descriptions of Luke’s life as a Traveller were beautifully portrayed, showing the clear and unbiased point of view of a boy who has struggled through life being shunned and badly treated by others. I loved the distinction Luke made between people who are travellers and those who don’t, stating that there are some travellers who give them a bad name, but it is not travellers as a whole, just like you get bad people from any way of life.
I adored this storyline and the different point of views we were given throughout it, without the switches being too confusing. I loved reading from both Luke and Jack’s point of views and the authors did an incredible job at making me not feel as though I should take sides. I could see the black and white of both Luke and Jack’s behaviours and didn’t think either character was in the right, or wrong. It was great following their journey to understanding and acceptance. They both loved Luke’s mother Annie, and at the end of the day they both wanted to know the truth. Jack to know why the love of his life left him without a word, and Luke as to why Jack had ignored his existence. There was also some great chapters from the girls point of views, with Kate being a wonderful partner for Luke, and her love for him clear when their lives are turned upside down when the lies caused through prejudice are spread too far. It is a harsh reminder of the harm that prejudice can do to others, and just how far it can spread. Like a disease, prejudice affects everyone it touches in some way.
Kate’s mother Sarah was a character that I desperately wanted to slap soon after being introduced to her. I loved how we saw the story from her thoughts as well, which helped develop the storyline and give me a deeply rooted hatred for her and her selfish, poisonous nature. Sarah is a great example of a character that I loved to hate, as her every action was fuelled through petty revenge and the desire for personal gain, even though she believes she has done the right thing. It’s great having a character that you can blame for problems in the past and know that despite the mystery of Annie’s disappearance and secrecy of Luke, there is a truth that can be told, leaving all of the characters with the chance to know the truth of what happened all those years ago so that they can accept and move on.
Emer was a great character that I really connected to. The way that she connected to her patients on an emotional level was heart warming to see. It is all too often that people in these roles have to keep emotionally detached from their patients in order to help them through, but Emer was a breath of fresh air, going above the call of duty and helping others with both an emotional and logical approach.
There’s so much I want to say about this novel, and how much I loved it, but don’t want to spoil the cleverly written mystery and suspense for future readers, but I will say that this story is an incredibly powerful and moving journey of love, loss, truth and acceptance that tugs at the heartstrings and will stay with you. There are characters that make you ashamed to be human, and then those that will give you faith in humanity again. This was a beautiful journey and I adored every second of it.
5 Stars and a definite recommended read.