Sunday, March 11, 2018
Lorna Peel’s BROTHERLY LOVE – Love Among Warring Families in a 19th Century Irish Village
Set in Ireland in 1835, this is the story of Caitriona Brady, a widow of two years, who carries a torch for Michael Warner, the brother of the local priest. Michael also wants her and soon, they acknowledge their love. However, not all in the village agree.
Caitriona’s husband was the best fighter among the Bradys who battle the Donnellans at regular intervals, typically after a religious event. Caitriona and Michael have declared their neutrality but no one seems to be listening.
The well-written story brings to light Ireland’s past when “Faction Fighting” occurred and “Ribbonmen” held sway. (I had to look up the term “Ribbonmen”. They were Irish Catholics who worked to prevent landlords from evicting their tenants; the name came from the green ribbon they wore as a badge.)
As if the villagers’ poverty was not enough of a challenge, they took out their hatred on each other, making their lives even more miserable, Caitriona and Michael’s lives among them. Even Michael's brother, the priest, opposes their love.
I admired Caitriona, first for her patience in enduring a loveless marriage and an unworthy mother in law, and then in trying to hold onto love when everyone seemed bent on tearing her and Michael apart. Michael is a noble hero but his failure to disclose his troubled past did not help.
If you want a slice of Ireland’s troubled past, this fast-paced tale is a good read. I recommend it.