Wrapping up Reading Ireland Month with two good reads…
A Stone of the Heart by John Brady
A Brutal murder on the grounds of Trinity College, Dublin, sparks a police investigation with unexpected consequences for Sergeant Matt Minogue of the Garda Murder Squad. When the body of student Jarlath Walsh is discovered with his head beaten in, Minogue instinctively knows that this is no random killing. Walsh was a young idealist, an innocent, as his grieving girlfriend Agnes McGuire confirms. But someone wants Minogue to believe that Walsh was a drug pusher who got what he deserved. As the sergeant digs deeper into the case, Dublin is rocked by IRA violence — a violence that seems somehow linked to the student’s murder. Minogue discovers the truth only after he is nearly killed when a hair-raising chase ends in a fateful clash in that no-man’s land which is the border with Northern Ireland.
The title comes from Yeats: “Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart.” The stony heartedness of grief and political hatred resonate through this subtle thriller set against a backdrop of terrorist violence.
This book is the first in the Inspector Matt Minogue Mystery series, there are ten books in the series. Minogue is freshly called back to service after a serious on duty injury. He’s really not sure if his superiors really want him to, or care if, he solves this case or if they just thought it was a good vehicle to see if he is ready to come back to work. He second guesses everything they do or say to him. Set in the unrest of 1980’s Ireland, lots of politicking going on. This book sets us up with insight with his past and family dynamics. We learn who Matt Minogue is. It is a slow read with a dramatic chase at the end. Well worth the time. I first heard about this book way back in 2013 on Tracy’s blog Bitter Tea and Mystery. Hop over and read her review too! It’s been on my shelf since 2013, wow! Glad I finally read it!
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
I very much enjoyed this book! It was a gentle, sweet story of an immigrant’s journey. Eilis didn’t really belong in her new homeland and now doesn’t really belong in her old homeland anymore. Somewhat sad really.
Looking forward to reading Nora Webster by this author soon. Nora is mentioned in this book. There is a recent movie, of the same title, made from this book. Have any of you seen Brooklyn!
Sad that Reading Ireland Month is over, but looking forward to next year. I discovered several new authors through this and will definitely be looking for their books. Thanks Cathy!