Today is my stop at the blog tour for A River in The Trees by Jacqueline O’Mahony. I am very excited to share my review for this debut novel.
Ireland is about to be torn apart by the War of Independence.
Hannah O’Donovan helps her father hide rebel soldiers in the attic, putting her family in great danger from the British soldiers who roam the countryside. An immediate connection between Hannah and O’Riada, the leader of this hidden band of rebels, will change her life and that of her family forever . . .
Ellen is at a crossroads: her marriage is in trouble, her career is over and she’s grieving the loss of a baby. After years in London, she decides to come home to Ireland to face the things she’s tried so hard to escape. Reaching into the past, she feels a connection to her ancestor, the mysterious Hannah O’Donovan. But why won’t anyone in her family talk about Hannah? And how can this journey help Ellen put her life back together?
My Review: 4/5 It Left Me Thinking Stars!
I finished A River in The Trees a few days ago and I found myself thinking about this book, the story, the characters for several days afterwards.
A River in The Trees tells the story of Hannah and Ellen, who are from the same family, but 100 years apart. In 1919, Hannah and her family were involved in the War of Independence where they helped hide the rebels from the British army. In 2019, Ellen, broken and in grief after the loss of her baby, went back to Ireland in the hope of saving her marriage and most importantly saving herself.
The book’s narrative alternated between the events of the two timelines; Hannah back in 1919 and Ellen in the present time. This is what I love the most about this book. Intertwining the past and present really captivated me from start to finish. Sooner or later, I found myself trying to see if there was any similarity in the events happening to Hannah in the past to the story of Ellen. Was it a repeat of a history or were the fates of these two characters completely different?
I was engrossed in the events happening to Hannah in 1919. I love Hannah as a character, what a strong-willed and brave young woman. She, in my mind, singlehandedly saved her whole family while making the impossible sacrifice. This part of the story was told so intensively, so effortlessly I found myself drawn to the characters so very much. I loved it. On the other hand, I did have apprehensive feelings about the story for Ellen in the present time. While I was reading the book, I kept asking myself whether I liked Ellen? I feel sorry for Ellen but do I actually like her? If I have a chance to meet with the author one day, I would definitely ask her if it was intentional to make Ellen a controversial character or whether she left readers to figure it out themselves.
While I did find the book had a slow start and I didn’t resonate with everything that was happening to Ellen at present time, I did enjoy the book very much. I keep asking myself, even days after finishing it, what happened to Hannah and what is going to happen to Ellen? I still want answers!
Thank you so much Ana and Riverrun for sending me this stunning advanced copy to review. A River in The Trees is out on 10 January, make sure you check it out!
Please check out other reviews posted by these lovely bloggers!