I do love stories where you follow characters over a number of years and watch their lives twist and turn. The Girls of Ennismore is one such book. Written by Patricia Falvey, and published through Corvus on 6th April, it’s another book I’d recommend to pre-order.
We meet two eight year old girls in County Mayo, Southern Ireland in 1900. One of the girls is Victoria Bell, whose father is the aristocratic Earl of Ennis, Anglo-Irish owner of Ennismore House, Rosie Killeen, is the daughter of one of him tenant farmers. The girls clearly come from very different backgrounds and are thrown together when Victoria decides she needs a companion her own age.
Rosie is brought into the manor house to study alongside Victoria, much to the disgust of Lady Ennis, her sister Lady Louisa, who acts as Governess to her niece and Bridie, Rosie’s sister who is in service at the great house. The girls soon become firm friends, despite their differences and we follow them through turbulent times, a world war, and hard times as that friendship is tested, lost and rekindled, through to 1918.
Rosie is thrown into a world with different rules, she isn’t part of the upper class, even though she’s spending time amongst them, but her own class now view her with suspicion. As you turn the pages of The Girls of Ennismore, you just know that Rosie’s bubble is going to burst. She’s fallen for the younger son of Earl Ennis, Valentine, she and Victoria talk of growing up and being out in society together, but can it really happen?
Sadly for Rosie, the answer is no. Having become involved with Brendan, from the staff, Victoria is sent off to Dublin when she turns 18, to be launched into society and all that that entails. While Rosie is cast out and has to make her own way in the world. She heads off to Dublin herself, in search of her sister Bridie who is meant to be living the dream in the big city. Instead, she finds her in squalor, with a sick child and a drunk for a husband. Rosie struggles to find a job in the big city and ends up accepting help from Victoria’s auntie. She become’s her pet project, and tries to launch Rosie into society, changing her name and giving her false hope of a better life ahead.
Of course, nothing comes from a life built on lies and her world comes crashing down when Lady Ennis discovers the deceit and calls her out in the middle of a society ball.
In a country where nationalism is really beginning to boil under the surface and World War One is calling up Irish men to fight in an English war, there are tears to be shed. Both young women have to find their own way, make their own mistakes and fight for what they really believe in. They both learn about true love, and what friendship really means.
I don’t want to say any more about the plot, so I don’t ruin it, just buy it, The Girls of Ennismore, is a really lovely read. You get involved with the characters and their journeys and you really want love and friendship to win out. I’ve included my Amazon affiliate link below for your reference.
disclosure: we were sent this item in exchange for an honest review.