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The Yellow House    by Patricia Falvey order for
Yellow House
by Patricia Falvey
Order:  USA  Can
Center Street, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Yellow House by first-time novelist Patricia Falvey encompasses the years from 1905 to 1924. The place is Glenlea in County Down, North Ireland. The story is the life of Eileen O'Neill, a wee girl who watches as her father is shot to death and their home burned by Protestants, who fear Catholics will take their jobs.

Eileen had a carefree childhood under the watchful eye of Mother Gullion - actually Slieve Gullion, a mountain behind the yellow house. Eileen talks to it and takes her troubles there. Now, her little sister has died of fever and her mother is in the county home, having lost her mind. Eileen promises herself and Mother Gullion that she will return to the yellow house and bring her family back together.

She goes to work in the local linen mill, a miserable, backbreaking job. Marries and has a child, all the while watching the political situation in Northern Ireland fall apart. The Troubles escalate and affect Protestant and Catholic alike. Of course, romance raises its head and Eileen is torn between love for her husband and for the new man in her life. Eileen's life and the Troubles intertwine as the years pass.

The Yellow House has a powerful story to tell and does it well. The author was born in Northern Ireland, and raised in Ireland and England before moving to the United States. She imparts her understanding of what caused the conflict to her readers. I have a soft spot in my heart for Ireland, North and South. It is a lovely country with friendly people who say there are no strangers in Ireland, only friends you haven't met yet. I found this to be true and am saddened that the Troubles have still not been completely resolved.

Read The Yellow House for the story of a woman with the kind of resilience and determination that most people do not possess. I sincerely look forward to the next book from the keyboard of Patricia Falvey.

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