Margaret Sullivan dines with politicians, rebels, and spies. She is an admired journalist with the Chicago Tribune publishing under a male nom de plume. Her unscrupulous husband is a prominent attorney and power broker with aspirations of his own. They are well-connected members of Chicago's 1880s Irish elite.
On her trip to Ireland to do research for a book she is writing, Margaret meets a charming one-armed Irish rebel named Michael and finds herself attracted to him and his ideas for liberating Ireland. While traveling through the stone-walled back roads of the island, Margaret sees for herself how the poor are treated. She breaks her vow never to get involved, and soon questions if she can ever go back to her old superficial life in Chicago again. Overcome with her new found emotions and strong desire to help, Margaret finds herself easily convinced by Mrs. Delia Parnell that women can be just as crucial in the fight for Ireland's independence as men.
Back home in Chicago, Margaret publishes articles hoping to gain support in America for Michael's cause. That is until he is arrested. Desperate, she turns to her jealous, devious husband for help... but he has a hidden agenda of his own.
Torn between her career as a journalist and compassion for those overseas, she finds herself trapped by her own aspirations. Soon things spin out of control both at home and abroad, and Margaret has to decide how much she is willing sacrifice for Micheal and her love for Ireland. For The Love of Ireland is a historical novel of love and loyalty, deception and honesty. It is about women fighting against traditional roles and gender discrimination during the 1880s. For The Love of Ireland is a work of fiction woven around actual events of the Irish Land League, a Chicago couple and the covert activities of the Clan na Gael.
©2013 Judy Leslie (P)2013 Judy Leslie
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
“To some, Ireland is no more than an island of rock and dirt shaped by the hand of God.
To the Irish, it is a poem, a myth, a clan, a country.
To the British, Ireland is a possession they don’t want to release.
She is a place of happiness and love, also sadness and sorrow.
Ireland is like Venus to many men, turning their hearts and creating warriors out of peasants.
She is an idea many would lay down their life for. “
This is the prologue quote that is in both the book and the audiobook: an attempt to prepare the reader for the events to come in this story. Closely directed by the thoughts and travels of Margaret Sullivan, the story mixes fiction, history, romance and a sense of the republicanism that is evident in Ireland to this day.
Margaret is an interesting, if not wholly impressive to me, character. I can admit to a real prejudice against women who maintain their independent view and approach when they act in a completely contrary manner. Margaret is, for her time, an unusual woman: a journalist, traveling for 2 months without her husband to rediscover the land of her birth and write a story. While that alone is worth recognition since women of the late 1800’s were rarely in the workforce, her submission to her husband, and refusal to make a clear break from her marriage all felt as if she was insecure in her own convictions and made her less than admirable. What Judy Leslie did manage to do with Margaret however, was to create a situation in which her choices would become the center of a climax point, and making her character work for that point.
The integration of historical events and carefully describing and detailing the places, as well as providing a clear set of explanations to the republican feelings of the Irish she encounters, including the radical solutions and options proposed by Michael are very ‘of the moment’ and help to elucidate the emotion behind the struggle for home rule. Adding in the fraternal organization of Clan na Gael and the emotions that are stirred in Irish living abroad for their homeland are all presented with an eye to the prolific and often polemic propaganda and rallying cries of the organizations.
Narration is provided by Susanna Burney who manages to deliver the story without over reliance on vocal manipulation to illustrate the different characters. Her accents are softly delivered and tone is well-modulated, providing a story that is easy to listen to at any pace. There are traces of regional accents and inflections that fit well with the characters, and the emotion behind the words that is written into the story provides a subtle reinforcement of the words being spoken.
This was a story that had moments of brilliance, and is written much like a love story to the many who struggled for home rule, while providing a lead character that will not always engender sympathy, but completely fits the story as it is told, and her motivations and history are exposed. Not a quick read, this is one to savor and enjoy, stirring the travel bug in those who have never seen the “Emerald Isle” for themselves, no matter their genealogy.
I received an AudioBook copy of the book from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
For the love of Ireland is an amazingly well developed historical novel that charts ten years in the life of Margaret Sullivan.
Margaret writes for the ‘Chicago Tribune’ under a male pseudonym and at first she seems quite content with her arrangement. As a woman, few men would even consider the possibility she could be a journalist. This is a good arrangement for her politically ambitious husband, Alex Sullivan.
When she journeys to Ireland and meets the charismatic rebel Michael Davitt, she instantly builds an attraction to both him and the social cause of freedom for Ireland from the brutal landlordism practiced during the late 1800s.
This sets up Margaret’s adventure as she fights to help the Irish cause through her controlling and abusive husband and her own writing talents. The novel is an educational historical read, a close examination of the treatment of women during this time period, a suspenseful political thriller, and a romance.
Often when an author has this many different threads, the novel comes across as tacked-together and haphazard, but Leslie has created a wonderful blend set to a pace that remains fast and yet still captures details specific to that time period. The characterization of Margaret, Davitt, and other historical figures is handled with great care allowing for a riveting story mixed with factual details.
I actually listened to this novel read by voice actress Susanna Burney. Susanna did a wonderful job of capturing unique voices for all of the characters, accurately handling a multitude of accents, and delivering a quality performance.
I’m amazed to discover this is a debut novel. It reads like a novel written by someone who has been writing bestsellers for years. If the quality of this novel is indicative of Judy Leslie’s future work I’ll be buying and reading [or listening to] everything she writes.
Wife, Mother, and daughter to wonderful people. i love books, discussions, and debating. I love to volunteer where ever I can.
This story of "Margaret", a writer who in her day could not be recognized as a female author. She writes under an alias male name about the tribulation of poor tenants in Ireland. She is married to a beast of a man who takes pleasure in tormenting her. Margaret falls for an Irish rebel while on her journeys. In the end she rebels, against the man she married and came to despise. All the while the story of the land league of Ireland is told. The land league is supporting the poor tenants in Ireland's. The poor in Ireland keep losing their homes because they can't pay the rent. American-Irish people take up fund raising in America to support the cause in Ireland. A great story of love and hardship.I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. This was the author's debut book!
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