Summer 1966: When her father comes home with lipstick on his collar, ten-year-old Claire’s life is turned upside down. Her furious mother leaves the family and heads to London, and Claire and her brothers are packed off to Ireland, to their reclusive grandmother at her tiny cottage on the beautifully bleak coast of Connemara.
A misfit among her new classmates, Claire finds it hard to make friends until she happens across a boy her own age from the school next door. He lives at the local orphanage, a notoriously harsh place. Amidst half-truths, lies and haunting family secrets, Claire forms a forbidden friendship with Emmet ‒ a bond that will change both their lives forever.
A Note From the Publisher
From the author of 'Not Thomas': Shortlisted for the Guardian's Not The Booker Prize 2017 Shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2017 Waterstones Wales Book of the Month July 2017
“Tender and deeply affecting.” Jon Gower, author, documentary maker, and Hay Festival International Fellow
“deeply affecting and haunting.” Maire Gameson author of The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (Deceased) (Salt)
Average rating from 7 members
Emmet and Me is a heart-warming family saga based on true events. The story flowed with ease, the quality of the writing was excellent. Having some prior knowledge of the historical events which took place in Ireland during the early and middle part of the 20th century, I kind of guessed where this one was going. However, that did not deter from the story-telling. Great sense of time and place, wonderful use of language and dialect, both Welsh and Irish, and Claire’s relationship with Emmet was definitely the highlight. I think many readers of historical and family-centered fiction will absolutely love this book!
I started Emmet and Me yesterday, finished hours later and am still sitting with the heroine, Claire, today. A lugubrious account of historical wrongs narrated by and featuring pragmatic and hopeful characters that you couldn't help feel and fall for. We all want to be liked, loved and accepted. A recurring theme of siblings suffering consequences for the actions and inactions of those meant to protect them. The main characters shone for their vulnerability, beauty and loss. When first reading, I had to double check who the audience was for, as it initially seemed better suited for my children. So glad I carried on and even though the intended audience may be for adults as it is a bit dark, I plan to have my children read this harrowing tale so we can discuss. Thanks to #Netgalley for an advanced copy of this beautiful but haunting read.
Sara Gethin has a unique talent for being able to enter a child's mind, to give their thoughts, speak their dialogue. I know this is commonplace in children's stories but what I mean is that she has the ability to speak from a child's perspective in an adult world. A world that is dysfunctional, that the child sees and comments on, but is swept along, helpless in the chaos those adults create. Yet threaded throughout Emmet and Me is the wonderful developing friendship between the Welsh, displaced protagonist, Claire and the, equally displaced Irish boy, Emmet. I also admired the short sections where Claire speaks as an adult looking back on her childhood and on that time in her life, which affected so much and says why she is now the woman she is. This is a novel set in Ireland at a time when many children had absolutely no control over what happened to them. To say any more would be to add spoilers: suffice it to say it is obvious Sara Gethin has researched thoroughly and has brought that era to life within this book. This is superb writing: the plot is enthralling (and, although I had an inkling which way the story was travelling, in no way did this spoil the read for me), all the characters are well rounded, grow as the story progresses and come to life on the page, and the settings have a real sense of place Emmet and Me is a novel I have absolutely no hesitation in recommended to any reader.