Rose of Skibbereen by John McDonnell

Rose of Skibbereen (#1)

A family saga about Rose Sullivan, an Irish girl who comes to Philadelphia in 1880 and finds love, heartache, loss, and unexpected joy during the tumultuous years around the turn of the century. She marries an Irish mystery man named Sean McCarthy, who has a violent past and a secret life, and he takes her to new heights and depths of passion. The lives of multiple characters, vividly drawn, come together in this series that examines what happens when the rural Irish of the 19th century encounter the breathtaking pace of change in the America of the 20th century. Follow Rose and Sean through the years as their lives take unexpected twists and turns, and they discover the many surprises hidden in the human heart.


I have seen others describe this as a love story or romance, and am not certain I would agree. If you go into it believing that, you will probably be disappointed. Poor Rose, who is built as a strong and brave female character heading off to a strange new world to help support her family shares a single kiss with a young Irish boy before she leaves. She pines away for this boy for years and years, until one day he mysteriously appears in the same town where she lives. He then, under some heroic actions, ends up working for the same family she works for, and although he is drawn to her and she to him, the dim romantic spark soon fades. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but, let me just say I found Sean to be quite the scoundrel, and his only redeeming quality was that he actually sent money to Rose to care for his family, even if it wasn't enough. The end of the story left me shaking my head, "Shame, shame, shame on you Sean McCarthy."
This book was easily read. A lot of the story was told after the fact, through letters Rose writes to her family, and you don't actually get to see it played out. I wasn't at all satisfied with the relationship between Rose and Sean, and would look forward to reading the next book if only to see him served his just desserts. There is a hint of some happiness for Rose at the end of the book, after all the years she suffers of loneliness and pain, which leaves hope for her future.
I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. It was an okay read.


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