Thank you to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the blog tour. Thank you to Books and the City and Simon and Schuster UK for a copy of the book to read and review. I first heard about this book during the 2021 showcase and knew I needed to read it. The book was originally published as The Liberation of Brigid Dunne.
One explosive family reunion. A lifetime of secrets revealed.
When four feisty women from the same family, get together at a family reunion, anything can happen…
Marie-Claire, betrayed by her partner Marc plans her revenge to teach him a lesson he will never forget. She travels from Toronto, home to Ireland, to the house of the Four Winds, for her great aunt Reverend Mother Brigid’s eightieth birthday celebrations. It will be a long-awaited reunion for three generations of family, bringing together her mother, Keelin and grandmother, Imelda – who have never quite got along. And then all hell breaks loose.
Bitter, jealous Imelda makes a shocking revelation that forces them all to confront their pasts, admit mistakes, and face the truths that have shaped their lives. With four fierce, opinionated women in one family, will they ever be able to forgive the past and share a future?
And what of Marc?
It’s never too late to make amends…or is it?
Spanning generations and covering seismic shifts in the lives of women, A Family Reunion is a compelling, thought-provoking, important and highly emotional novel from a trailblazing author in women’s fiction.
On a wet and windy February day, it was lovely to receive a copy of this beautiful book with a pretty cover. This is my first read of a Patricia Scanlan novel, and I’m not sure why I haven’t read any before.
The book looks at the lives of the women in one family in Ireland over the past seventy years, looking at how the Catholic Church provided sanctuary for one and ostracised another. The book deals with miscarriage, suicide, forced adoptions and family arguments, so isn’t a ‘light’ read but it was a compelling read.
Marie-Claire flees Canada with a broken heart to spend time with her family in Ireland, not expecting to find herself in the middle of a family party where her grandmother decides to spill lots of family secrets after bottling them up for many years. The family then have to deal with the change in family dynamics and the uncovering of more secrets.
I enjoyed this book, swept up in the story, which moves backwards and forward in time for the three generations. As an English woman I hadn’t appreciated how much freedom we had in terms of contraception in contrast to our Irish neighbours. The book looks at the issues of the homes for unmarried mothers, fighting for the right to use contraception and for the abortion laws to be changed, the major changes to the lives of Irish women.
Happy to recommend this book to fans of family drama and historical fiction. I enjoyed curling up with this 500+ page book over a weekend, ignoring the housework and making the most of the enforced staying in to stay safe during lockdown. If we were able to travel on holiday later this year, this would be one of my recommendations for sun lounger reading.
Patricia Scanlan lives in Dublin. Her books, all number one bestsellers, have sold worldwide and been translated into many languages.