Cover Image: A Place to Belong

A Place to Belong

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Member Reviews

Until fairly recently, I’ve read very few historical sagas – I thought I was more of a modern girl, and that they wouldn’t really be my kind of read. But I’m changing my mind, because – when they’re really well written, and that’s an absolute “must” – I’ve found there isn’t actually anything much better than being able to disappear between their pages for a while. And if we’re talking about “well written”, they don’t come much better than this.

The characters in this book are absolutely superb. I adored Eva, at the heart of the story, who finds herself “adopted” by the quite wonderful Ma Scully when the orphanage where she lives is destroyed by fire. She might be naive in the ways of the world, but my goodness she’s strong – making the best of every bad situation, working hard, looking for the good in everything, fighting her way through – and she really won my heart.

And all the female characters are so very well drawn – Ma Scully has considerably more depth than it appears at first, fighting for what she believes in every bit as hard, with a vast reserve of love and goodness. Even the minor female characters are three-dimensional and interesting – the ladies in the Dublin cafe are a really good example. And as for the less attractive female characters – well, Aggie is a total horror, bitter, cruel and twisted, and (horrendous as she is) quite wonderfully drawn.

The male characters perhaps are more sharply divided into good and bad – and as bad characters go, the villain in this story is one of the most repellent and frightening that you’re likely to come across. But if you’re looking for good, they don’t come much better than Cathal, a total hero in every way, a thoroughly lovely bloke, and a fitting love interest – however initially unlikely – for Eva. And while we’re talking about good men, I’m sure you’re going to like Finn as very much as I did – pure goodness behind his rather off-putting appearance, and such an excellent character study.

The story is just wonderful – challenge after challenge, little victories overshadowed by the next set back, real drama, the possibility of a happy ending sometimes ebbing away, the changes in fortune coming thick and fast. The rural Irish setting is perfectly done – I was inspired to explore on Google a little, taking a look at Cavan, Bawnboy and Templeport lake, taking a look at St Mogues island and its history. The wartime Dublin setting was excellent too – I’d never thought before about the impact or otherwise of the Second World War on Ireland and its people, and the backdrop to this book was a real education. Just sometimes, the research authors do can be over-displayed a little – it certainly isn’t here, it’s just gently used to give a feel of authenticity to the story.

Just another little thing while we’re talking about authenticity. I do have a real aversion when authors attempt to reproduce the vernacular in their characters’ speech – in fact, I’d even say it’s what has put me off sagas in the past. In this book, the author does it just perfectly, an example others could follow – the speech patterns are there, the unique expressions, but it’s all so gently done that it’s entirely comfortable to read, a hint rather than the oft-encountered sledgehammer.

And I have to mention the developing love story at the story’s centre – I thought it was ineffably beautiful, heartwarming and uplifting, and made me ache with a yearning that life would work out for two characters that I’d really grown to love.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and – whether you think you like a good saga, or are as convinced as I was that they aren’t for you – an author I’d very much recommend you catch up with. I loved this one – but I expect you can tell, can’t you?!

(Review copied to Amazon UK but link not yet available)
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I really liked this book in the beginning. The first half seemed so well written, and then the writing went downhill. Badly.  So many times I thought to just leave the book. But I kept at it, skipping thru it just to get to the end. 
 I was disappointed the writing was not very good the second half of the book and there were scenes thrown in most likely to take up space, add words.  
#APlaceToBelong #NetGalley
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This is a sad tale about living in an orphanage. It was heartbreaking and I came to love the characters in the story.  This was a hard read because it was so sad.  Very well written!

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.
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This is the sort of story you can lose yourself in.  Set in Ireland beginning in 1943, it's the tale of Eve  an orphan who finds herself lucky when Ma Scully takes her in when the convent where she lives has a terrible fire.  Ma's nephew Cathal (sigh) fights the fire and then becomes the love of her life- although getting there isn't easy.  Eve goes to work at Blackstock farm which while it keeps her fed and housed, is not a good place in many ways. Matthew, son of the farmer, returns home after deserting and makes life, well, even worse. Still, out there is Cathal.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read.
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This was a beautiful emotional story. Eva Fallon,  the main character lives in an orphanage but when a fire destroys it she finds herself homeless and traumatised., but  she is taken in by Ma Scully who shows her kindness and caring. 

Ma organises work for Eva at Blackstock farm. Although this provides her with stability, farm life is hard, Mr Blackstock is a hard taskmaster but his mother in law is even harder Eva struggles with her new surroundings but works hard without complaining. 

When Matthew. Mr Blackstock’s  son returns home after deserting the army, Eva is drawn into a situation which will impact on her future and happiness. The events which spiral from Matthews return is heart wrenching.

The one glowing light in Evas life is Cathal,, Ma Scully’s  nephew. She has fallen in love with him but is unsure if that love will ever be returned. 

I was cheering for Eva throughout this wonderful story. The beautiful Irish countryside setting was perfect and Cathy Mansell’s fantastic storytelling and characters were evident throughout. This is a book to curl up with and I highly recommend it. 

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for my chance to read this beautiful story.
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Cathy Mansell's A Place to Belong is a sweet story about a young orphan girl trying to find her way in Ireland during World War II. When the orphanage where Eva lives catches on fire,she finds herself being cared for by Ma Scully. Ma helps Eva to find work at Blackstock farm, where her life changes forever. Life on the farm is hard and the older mother in law who lives there gives her a hard time, making things even worse for Eva. When Matthew, the son of Mr. Blackstock, her boss, returns after deserting the army, things only get harder. Eva leaves, setting off a chain of events that will cause her to find herself and the strength inside her. Along the way, she falls in love with Ma Scully's nephew Cathal. But, with everything going wrong, will he ever be able to love her in return?
This was a sweet story. I enjoyed it. I received a free copy of this story from NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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An author new to me who transported me to the Irish countryside, where I met Eva Fallon. Knowing nothing of the world outside of her orphanage, when tragedy strikes she finds herself out on her own and having to survive to find some happiness and a future that is not already chosen for her. 

Enter Ma Scully, a woman who she finds friendship, kindness and luckily a job with. 

A job at Blackstock Farm. Here she starts to perhaps find her feet and feel a part of the world. 

Until Matthew Blackstock returns from war. But he is hiding a secret and his grandmother wants to hide him, implicating Eva in something she is completely unaware of. 

The events that follow are heart wrenching and Mansell weaves a wonderful tale of good over evil and how luck and love come from the most unlikeliest of places even if you have only touched someone's life briefly.

This is a wonderful story which had me cheering for Eva from the very beginning, the kindness and no nonsense of Ma Scully reminded me of my own Irish relatives and the touch of romance that weaved it all together was all that was needed to make this a thoroughly good read. 

I will look out for more of Cathy Mansell's work.
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An absolutelywonderful story of courage and love.  From an orphanage to sadness to hardship to danger and finally to love. You will love this story.
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Thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review 
Not read  anything  by this Author   was very impressed  a sad tale living in an orphanage  good strong storyline  and characters  can highly recommend.
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What a lovely emotional story this is about Eva Fallon and her struggle for a happy loving life.Living in an Orphanage is a hard life but eva just squares her shoulders and gets on with life although she rebels at times.One night there is a tragedy at the orphanage that throws eva out into a world she has never seen before then an older woman takes care of her and Ma Scully becomes her friend.I have loved reading this book although a very emotional one.Well worth 5*
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An amazing story

I love the characters and the setting of this story. They are so realistic, from the charming Cathal Burke, to the evil Matthew Blackstone. I especially loved the characters of Ma Scully and Big Finn. Aggie Blackstone made quite the villain, and John Blackstone a lonely man. Their parts in the story were all written well.

I love the beautiful setting in the Irish countryside and a bit in Dublin. I could feel the boat rocking and see the Island where Big Finn was laid to rest, such a beautiful and peaceful place.

Eva's life was not easy from the age of seven when her parents died and she was taken to the orphanage in the country. When the orphanage catches fire she is rescued and given a place to stay with Ma Scully.

Her adventures working on the Blackstone farm and the unfortunate events to follow not only brought her back to the home of Ma. Scully but to arms of her nephew Cathal as well.

It is quite the story of a young Orphan girl and her adventure into the world, becoming an adult and facing adult situations head on with courage and determination.

It was an amazing story and I would recommend it.

A big thanks to Headline Publishing, Cathy Mansell and NetGalley for allowing me an advanced copy to read and review. The opinions are my own.
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