Friday, March 1, 2013

Book Review -- The Yellow House

ThThe Yellow Housee Yellow House by Patricia Falvey
My enjoyment rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source:  Personal copy
Genre: Historical fiction
Objectionable material:  one use of the F-bomb; sexual innuendo
Read for Ladies of Literature book club

Set in Northern Ireland in the early 1900s, the story of The Yellow House centers around Eileen O'Neill as she grows up during a turbulent time in Ireland's history. Spanning 20 years, the story picks up during her childhood, as the family falls into poverty and tragedy sets the tone for Eileen's struggles. Working in a mill, in dangerous conditions, she saves her money and dreams of reuniting her family in the home of her childhood, hoping to bring back happier times.

Along the way, she finds herself torn between two men, and torn by her own will and the will of others. Her family history and the current political landscape shape Eileen's journey, and secrets and betrayals leave their mark.

I wanted to love this book: historical fiction, turn of the century Ireland, independent female protagonist – it had all the markings of a novel I would normally swoon over.

I did not.

The author did provide a rich and luscious narrative about turn of the century, politically unbalanced Ireland. If nothing else….I came away from this book with a much better understanding of the Anglo/Gaelic discord over the past 100 years and the Irish civil war.

However, the story was all rather predictable: struggling family trying to make ends meet; marital friction; Romeo/Juliet-type romantic tension between two characters; conflicted story lines that seamlessly worked themselves out to make a very happy ending. All too neat and tidy for such a turbulent time period.

This novel certainly aims to be an epic, Irish novel – but ultimately it was slow, plodding and quite often, repetitive.
My blogging friend Corinne loved this book – for a difference of opinion, please consider her lovely thoughts.


Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I bought this book a few months ago but have yet to read it. I hope I like it.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Laura: I had exceedingly HIGH hopes for this book...probably too high. It was a good book...I was expecting a life changer. I would love to read your thoughts, once you read it.

Unknown said...

I have had this book on my shelf since it came out a few years ago. Every so often I pick it up and flip through and then put it back on the shelf. I don't know what has stopped me from reading it. Thank you for the review. I guess the poor book is gonna sit on my shelf a little longer now. BTW you cracked me up with your comment about saying warrior ONE MORE TIME....

Kathy (

Booksnyc said...

Thanks for the review - I have been considering this book (I think my Mom read it) but slow and plodding I do not need!

mpartyka said...

I think I felt about what you did for this one. I was reading a lot of historical fiction (I don't read much these days). If interested, the link below will bring you to my book discussion with the author. I also enjoy a book more after discussing it with the author.

Anna said...

Sorry to hear you didn't like it. I actually loved this book, particularly for the writing and how she explains all the turmoil of the time in a way that didn't break up the narrative for me.