Source: Kevin O'Connell

#BookReview
Two Journeys Home by Kevin O’Connell

#BookReview Two Journeys Home by Kevin O’ConnellTitle: Two Journeys Home

Author: Kevin O'Connell

Series: The Derrynane Saga #2

Published by Gortcullinane Press on November 1, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 310

Format: Paperback

Source: Kevin O'Connell

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

It’s now the late-Summer of 1767. As the eagerly anticipated sequel to Beyond Derrynane opens, having spent almost six eventful years at the court of Maria Theresa, Eileen O’Connell has availed herself of a fortuitous opportunity to travel back to Ireland.

Her vivacious personality matched only by her arresting physical presence, Eileen returns to Derrynane this time not as a teenage widow but, rather, as one of the most recognised figures at the glittering Habsburg court. Before departing Ireland several months later, she experiences a whirlwind romance, leading to a tumult of betrayal and conflict within the O’Connell clan. Once back in Vienna she unexpectedly finds her responsibilities as governess to the youngest Habsburg archduchess now linked to relations between France and Austria.

Abigail, rather than being eclipsed by her colourful younger sister, has instead ascended to the vaulted position of principal lady-in-waiting to Empress Maria Theresa. No longer “just a girl from deep in Kerry,” she is a beloved – and powerful – figure at court.

Hugh O’Connell, the youngest of the large family, leaves behind waning adolescence and a fleeting attraction to the youngest archduchess when he begins a military career in the Irish Brigade of the armies of Louis XV. But, perhaps as a foreshadowing of his adult life and career, more royal entanglement awaits him in France …

In the continuing saga, the O’Connells will confront intrigue, romance – even violence. Despite their innate wisdom, cunning and guile, what their futures hold remains to be seen.

With his uniquely-descriptive prose, Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful tapestry affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as Protestant Ascendancy–ruled Ireland. Watch as the epic unfolds amongst the O’Connells, their friends and enemies, as the tumultuously-dangerous worlds in which they dwell continue to gradually – but inexorably – change.

Along with Beyond Derrynane, Two Journeys Home – and the two books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – comprise an enthralling series of historical novels, presenting a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen “Gaelic Aristocracy” at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in an Ireland still controlled by the Sassenach.

In addition to Eileen’s, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O’Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic facts which give rise to the tale, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events mesh seamlessly.


Review:

Fascinating, insightful and richly descriptive!

Two Journeys Home is an intriguing tale that picks up where “Beyond Derrynane” left off, taking us back to the 1760s where family honour and respect are more righteous than love and emotional happiness and the youngest sister Eileen is struggling to fulfill her wishes and dreams amongst an abundance of betrayal and violence.

The prose is captivating and vivid. The characters are bold, resilient, and willful. And the plot takes us from the 1760s through to the 1770s, from the dazzling courts of Austria to the green hills of Ireland where upheaval, acceptance, and familial strife weigh heavily on the heart and mind.

Two Journeys Home is a well written, sophisticated novel that certainly highlights O’Connell’s outstanding research, incredible knowledge, and enormous passion for his family’s history and genealogy.

Two Journeys Home is the second novel in “The Derrynane Saga” and if you haven’t already read my review for Beyond Derrynane (Derrynane Saga #1) be sure to check it out here:

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                        

 

 

Thank you to Kevin O’Connell for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure and honour to read.

 

About Kevin O'Connell

Kevin O'Connell is a native of New York City and a descendant of a young officer of what had—from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland and Mr. O'Connell's own grandparents came to New York in the early twentieth century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.

He is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.

For much of his four decades-long legal career, O'Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia (principally China), Europe, and the Middle East.

The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland

#BookReview
Beyond Derrynane by Kevin O’Connell

#BookReview Beyond Derrynane by Kevin O’ConnellTitle: Beyond Derrynane

Author: Kevin O'Connell

Series: The Derrynane Saga #1

Published by Gortcullinane Press on June 7, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 348

Format: eBook

Source: Kevin O'Connell

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Wed in an arranged marriage to a man nearly fifty years her senior, sixteen-year-old Eileen O’Connell goes from being one of five unmarried sisters to become the mistress of Ballyhar, the great estate of John O’Connor, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Ireland.

When O’Connor dies suddenly seven months into their marriage, Eileen must decide whether she will fulfill her brother’s strategic goals for her family by marrying her late husband’s son.

Headstrong and outspoken, Eileen frustrates her brother’s wishes, as, through the auspices of her uncle, General Moritz O’Connell of the Imperial Austrian Army, she, along with her ebullient elder sister, Abigail, spend the ensuing richly-dramatic and eventful years at the court of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna. The sisters learn to navigate the complex and frequently contradictory ways of the court–making a place for themselves in a world far different from remote Derrynane. Together with the general, they experience a complex life at the pinnacle of the Habsburg Empire.

Beyond Derrynane – and the three books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – will present a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen “Gaelic Aristocracy” (of which the O’Connells were counted as being amongst its few basically still-intact families) at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland.

In addition to Eileen’s, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O’Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic threads around which the tale itself is woven, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events intertwine seamlessly. 


Review:

Well researched, exceptionally detailed and highly informative!

This story takes us back into the 1760s, when women were considered mere objects and independence was unheard of, and gives us an in-depth look into the life and loves of the author’s ancestors.

It is ultimately a story about family relationships, betrayal, wealth, adventure, self discovery, fulfillment and love.

The writing is well done with beautiful imagery. The main characters are two Irish sisters; Abigail the homely, kind, content older sister; and Eileen the strong, determined, daring younger one. And the plot unfolds chronologically with a good mix of historical fact, authentic dialogue, and heartfelt emotion that keeps the story flowing from start to finish.

This is the first book in “The Derrynane Saga” and I look forward to reading the continuation of Eileen’s story in the next novel in the series when it is published.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy of this book from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

Thank you to Kevin O’Connell, the author, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure and honour to read.

 

About Kevin O'Connell

Kevin O'Connell is a native of New York City and a descendant of a young officer of what had—from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland and Mr. O'Connell's own grandparents came to New York in the early twentieth century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.

He is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.

For much of his four decades-long legal career, O'Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia (principally China), Europe, and the Middle East.

The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland

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