Sometimes those who appear to have a perfect life are the ones with the darkest secrets.
Sarah Murphy, the young schoolmistress of Somerset National School is a respected member of her local community. A woman with a deep secret that must remain hidden for the time being as she hides behind her schoolteacher clothes.
While dedicating her life to improving the lives of her students in the hopes of creating a better world for all, with each instance of hope, Sarah encounters a new measure of despair. Her heart is pulled by the man she rushed to marry. Sean, enigmatic and charming from the moment she met him, captivating her with his lazy smile and easy way. Sean, an elite member of the IRA and a man on the run.
Theirs is a story of unabashed love, sorrow and heartbreak as Ireland devolves into a period of violence and political unrest as opposing ideals clash. Danger lurks on every corner and never knowing who is watching or who to trust, Sarah while trying to portray an air of calmness and self-assuredness feels isolated, helpless and at times very alone. Time spent with Sean is precious as he moves under the cover of darkness from one safe house to another while he directs a lethal style of guerrilla warfare against the forces of the British crown, who have occupied Ireland for hundreds of years.
Then Sarah discovers that she is pregnant, but her husband is missing in action, and as weeks pass, hopes fade for his safe return. This calamity forces Sarah to dig deep into her past to make sense of her life and, if she is successful, find a way to reconcile the anguish building in her heart.
Worlds are upended as revelations come to light about her so-called father while the identity of her real father is exposed. Yet she must protect herself and her unborn baby and she needs to escape from the maelstrom of violence all around her but that may prove more difficult than it seems.
One way or another, life as she knew it is quickly ending. Sarah just hopes she lives long enough to escape to safety.
"Set at the cusp of the Irish War of Independence, this novel is set in an era of Irish history that is highly documented. However, what makes this novel most unique is the admirable central protagonist; the school teacher- Ms. Sarah Murphy. Whilst the historical knowledge of the author is incredibly accurate, and of particular interest to those local to the Royal county, it does not overshadow the strength of Sarah's character and the storyline.
The 'forbidden love', belittling from male superiors and challenges experienced by Sarah are just as applicable to a woman in the 21st century making it a book that can be enjoyed by many. Our empathy for Sarah is enhanced given the hardships particular to 20th century Ireland.
In summary, the historical context does not overshadow the strength of this novel's plot, rather it enhances the reader's experience with the novel.
I would highly recommend this novel to all." - Amy McLoughlin, Amazon reviewer