Monday, September 21, 2015

Only with Blood by Therese Down - REVIEWED

About the Book:

When dying Jack Flynn decides he needs a bride so that he can father a son, his young wife Caitlin proves far more than he intended to buy 

Jack Flynn, strong and aggressive but slowly dying of tuberculosis on his farm in Tipperary in the Republic of Ireland, decides to acquire--purchase--a young wife who can bear him sons to inherit his family's land. His choice, Caitlin Spillane, is less than half his age, attractive and intelligent, and resents bitterly the obedience that is forced upon her. 

When a young firebrand, a supporter of the IRA, arrives in the village, he and Caitlin are drawn together in their detestation of Flynn. Flynn, traumatized by his own insurgent IRA experiences twenty years earlier, is secretly convinced that Eamonn de Valera's more diplomatic, peaceful approach to Ireland's problems is the only sane one. 

Could Caitlin be won for the cause, and leave her unloved husband? 

A novel set against the struggle for the heart of Ireland in the Second World War, when the IRA notoriously sought assistance from the Nazis, Only with Blood explores flawed characters placed in extraordinary situations. 

My Thoughts:
Only with Blood tells many stories in one…stories of people struggling to be free – to become all that they long to be – no matter the cost.  Jack Flynn has been imprisoned by a life filled with misfortune.  Abandoned, mistreated, haunted by memories of war and death, Jack is able to recognize those around him who are also enslaved.  Jack knew his health was failing when he went to the matchmaker seeking a wife.  Though he had no idea where his request would lead, when he met Caitlin Spillane, he recognized a need in her life that he hoped to fulfill. 

Their marriage was arranged by Caitlin’s greedy father, but, after her marriage, she slowly comes to realize her full potential.  Her marriage isn’t something to further enslave her, it is the very vehicle that will carry her, ultimately, to freedom – a freedom she doesn’t even know she is longing for from the depths of her soul.

All of this tattered relationships are set against a background of war.  Germany is slowly gaining ground in Europe and the Irish are fighting for their freedom – from the world it seems.  Donal Kelly enters Caitlin and Jack’s world at a pivotal moment in Ireland’s history.  The second World War is just beginning, and it as if the entire world is trying to fight many forms of enslavement – political, physical, mental…the battle is raging on many fronts.

Therese Down has carefully woven historical events into a turbulent Irish tale whose character’s lives echo the fight for freedom.  It’s a dark tale for the most part, but the character development drives the story, and everyone will appreciate the conclusion for its strength and honesty.

About the Author:

Therese Down is currently working as the Head of English at a High School in England and has been teaching English Literature and Language for over twenty years in a range of schools and colleges. She holds a MA in Employment Law and is experienced in personnel management.

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