Bookroomreviews would like to thank Cindy Jewkes for this excellent Review
I’m not sure how to begin this post. I’m in a sort of reading coma–like a food coma, but experienced after over-indulging on a good book. The Angel of Innisfree, by Patrick F. Rooney, is a seriously fantastic read.
The story begins in Ireland in 1848 during the Irish Potato Famine. Landlords are ruthlessly evicting their tenants and thousands are dying in the streets. When 16-year-old Elizabeth Reilly nurses Brian O’Rourke back to health after nearly starving to death, the young lovers’ fates become intertwined. After Brian’s family is killed by English soldiers, he and his sister Mary are forced to flee to America on a famine ship and start a new life, but not before promising Elizabeth that he would find her someday. Elizabeth moves to France to study with Chopin and pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist. Elizabeth and Brian each take incredible journeys that give the reader a glimpse into the rich history of the telegraph, the Underground Railroad, and the American Civil War. Will Brian and Elizabeth find each other in a country ripped apart by war?
I’m always excited when I find a really good historical fiction novel. I detest history books but I enjoy learning about the past. Historical fiction, for me, is the best way to learn history because it makes those time periods come alive in ways that text books can never achieve. I don’t know if I can express emphatically enough how much I loved The Angel of Innisfree. There was so much action–far more I would ever expect from this genre!–and the story line was consistently moving along at the perfect rate: slow enough to savor the setting, but quick enough to keep me interested in what was going to happen next.
The main characters were phenomenal; I couldn’t believe the hardships both Brian and Elizabeth endured and overcame so that they could be together. Brian refers to Elizabeth throughout the novel as his angel of Innisfree. My favorite quote of the book came in the very last paragraph:
“I remember him playing his violin on the Viking rock to comfort the dying then, how he rescued Mary, how he helped the Negroes escape on the Underground Railroad, how he helped the wounded soldiers at Antietam, and a hundred other kindnesses over the years, and it occurs to me that he may have been the angel of Innisfree all along.” (Elizabeth, epilogue.)
The writing style is clear and strong, the history is fascinating and informative, the characters are compelling, and the love story is one for the ages.
In a book this strong it is hard to come up with any weaknesses. It was perhaps a little long, but it really was a story I wanted to savor and take my time with. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luxury!)
I am at a loss for why this book only has a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It is as good a book as any I have ever read. Readers, let’s band together and share the word about this good tale! If you haven’t read it yet, go get a copy now. I promise you won’t regret it!
I give The Angel of Innisfree a full 5 stars, wishing I could give it more.
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Hi, I’m Cindy Jewkes; mom of 2 littles and life-long book addict. When I was young I slept with a nightlight; not because I was scared of the dark, but so I could have a way to keep reading my books after my parents declared “lights-out.” I love books of many different genres, but I keep going back to YA, fantasy, and fairy tales. I am always on the hunt for the next book that I cannot put down and stories that make me fall in love with the characters.
In between having babies I enjoy training for and participating in sprint-length triathlons. Someday I hope to complete an Olympic distance tri! I love singing, especially in choirs, and I eat more chocolate than is considered healthy.
Check out my blog at find your next good tale!