cover image The Girls of Ennismore

The Girls of Ennismore

Patricia Falvey. Kensington, $15 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0995-0

The lives of Rosie Killeen, from a poor Irish farmhouse, and Victoria Bell, from the wealthy manor serviced by Rosie’s family, are forever altered when an act of kindness is the catalyst for Rosie becoming Victoria’s study companion. Against the backdrop of early-20th-century Ireland, Falvey, an Irish native now living in the U.S., brings authenticity to the class struggles and political clashes that impact the lives of these two young girls whose friendship is ever tested by the gap in their backgrounds. As Rosie gets educated and comes to learn the privileges and responsibilities of the upper class, and Victoria becomes more intrigued by the life of her new companion as well as by those who service her home, each woman finds herself a fish out of water. World events, from the sinking of the Titanic to the outbreak of the Great War and the movement toward Irish independence, seep into their lives, and the two women make choices that challenge their relationship. Rosie leaves the Bell household and strikes out on her own, working for the Gaelic League, a major organization behind the nationalist movement in Ireland. Victoria abandons employment in a private clinic to work in a general hospital, where she is more fulfilled by her work there. Not incidentally, each is romantically drawn to someone outside of her class. Falvey, adept at combining vivid historical detail and rich characterization, brings closure to Rose’s and Victoria’s amorous predicaments with brio and simplicity as the women eventually reunite in friendship. (Apr.)