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
Average rating from 7 members
This story revolves around Sarah Murphy, a school teacher. She is secretly married to Sean Murphy, a wanted member of the IRA. She supposedly lives a normal life and her love of teaching and helping the unfortunate in her town is astounding.
There are many characters in this book that keep you interested, Mel Geraghty who passes on the goings on of the town to the "Black and Tans", Father Daly the Parish Priest who constantly badgers Sarah to marry and often threatens her job, the Magistrate William Taylor who has a secret that drives him to drink and is thought to be going mad, the colourful gypsy Biddy-Anne who is a great help to Sarah in her time of need.
And then there is Sean Murphy who slips in and out of the town who Sarah definitely loves but is always worried that he may be caught and hung whilt working for the Irish IRA.
I give this story 4* and will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it, the only criticism was the ending could have been drawn out a bit more and I would have liked more of Sean's story as well.
Thanks to Netgalley, BooksGoSocial and Anne Frehill for the opportunity to read and review this book.
REAPERS OF JUSTICE BY ANNE FREHILLLoving Ireland...and all things Irish - especially the men hee, hee - I knew I had to read this amazing historical fiction novel set in Ireland. Anne Frehill's writing was emotional and captivating and seamlessly matched the time frame it was set in. The story of Sarah was so heartbreaking yet engaging enough that I finished it in two day. She was a fabulously created character! This being only the 2nd historical fiction book after reading The Four Winds...this did not disappoint! I would definitely recommend it. 5 stars easy! ️ ️ ️ ️ ️
This is a beautifully written story of a school teacher, Sarah Murphy, set in Ireland during the war. Sarah is an excellent teacher and holds the welfare and lessons of her class in the highest regard. There is nothing she would not do for her class. We learn that Sarah is married and further into the book we learn she is expecting a baby. These facts are not known by anyone. We watch Sarah go in and out of predicaments and all the while maintaining her silence about her personal life. Sarah is a wonderful character and you instantly fall in love with her. The book develops the characters and you get to really have an understanding of them. It is under 200 pages, but a perfect way to spend a nice afternoon of reading - you won't be disappointed.
My thanks to the Author publisher's and NetGalley for providing me with a Kindle version of this book to read and honestly review.
A well written and researched story of Ireland in the early nineteen hundreds, a turbulent violent time of the IRA and the Black and Tans. Atmospheric descriptive and intriguing with believable characters some you warm too and some you definitely don't. A love story at times happy and sweet others forbidden poignant and sad. There is also a darker side of this novel where our heroine a woman ahead of her time is under constant scrutiny and pressure. A brave clever feisty teacher who gives her all for her pupils risking the wrath of the Parish priest and a particulary violent parent. One moment a charming story of rural Ireland the next tense exciting thriller, but always engaging and interesting.