When Jenny McKinstry is offered a job as Head of English at her Belfast school, she knows that it’s an opportunity that she shouldn’t turn down - and yet conflicting desires and loyalties hold her back. Can she take on the job and support her ambitious husband? Can she handle the expectations of the older women around her?
County Armagh, 1845. Married to the local blacksmith, young Sarah Hamilton spends her days looking after John and his apprentices at the forge, and her happiness is strengthened by the steady love of her husband and the beautiful green landscape of her home on Drumilly Hill. But when tragedy strikes, her life is changed forever. As the crops across Ireland begin to fail and the textile industry struggles to adapt to new methods, Sarah isn't the only one enduring hardships.
Deirdre Weston, a London journalist, returns to her family home in Armagh to come to terms with the death of her mother. Faced with painful memories of her own past, Deirdre almost despairs of the task she has set herself. At the point of her deepest need, she is comforted by Deara, a mysterious young woman from fifth-century Ireland who draws her into the Druidic world of Tara, where the conflicts echo those of troubled 20th-century Ulster.
"Every minute us a pure treat for your soul!❤️"
It is 1942, and the Second World War has been going on for three wearying years. Work is hard and hours long in the four Ulster mills in Northern Ireland where Alex Hamilton struggles to keep overworked machines going, just as his wife Emily tries to provide food and comfort not only for their own son and daughters, but for the many young American soldiers stationed nearby.
Now in her 50s and a grandmother, Rose Hamilton has much to be thankful for in the steady love of her husband, John, and their relative prosperity. But she is concerned for her children, especially Sarah. As world events impinge on the family, they face new challenges and tragedies in their daily lives. But it is events in Ireland that make the greatest demands on both women when Sarah becomes involved in the Easter Rising of 1916.
Elizabeth Stewart, a Belfast student and only daughter of Protestant parents, sets out on a study visit to the west coast of Ireland. Delighted as she is by the beauty of her new surroundings and the small community that welcomes her, she soon discovers that she has more to learn than the details of the old country way of life. Through her response to the people she meets, Elizabeth comes to reappraise much that had been slighted and dismissed by her family.
It is 1960, and Clare Hamilton is returning home to her beloved Armagh to marry Andrew Hamilton, her childhood sweetheart. They plan to live in Andrew’s ancestral home, which they intend to run as a guest house. Their ambition is to buy back the land of the former family estate so that Andrew can quit his hated job and farm the land. At first, things go well, and the guest house prospers, but the 1960s are a time of change. Air travel becomes increasingly affordable and bookings decline. And the increasing political turmoil and religious tensions too close to home make them wonder if, despite all their efforts, their project might fail.
At nearly 16, Rosie Hamilton is growing into a lovely young woman. She has to contend with her mother's unpredictable temper, which often leads to violence in spite of her father's efforts. When Rosie has the opportunity to go to Kerry with her grandparents, Sam is grateful to have time to consider what best he can do to help his daughter. For Rose and John Hamilton, now in their early 70s, this is a long-promised return to the place where Rose grew up and where she and John met.
For Sam Hamilton and Robert Scott, the world has changed greatly since their childhood. Now in their fifties, with families of their own, they are grateful to have work at a time when unemployment is rife. But they have little joy in their wives, and even less support when they are faced with the unhappiness of a son or daughter. Set in the Ulster of the 1930s, For Many a Long Day continues the story of the Hamiltons and their friends.