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(reviewed by Lee Libro for
"The Yellow House" by Patricia Falvey is an epic tale set in Ireland during the revolutionary years of the early 1900’s, championing the fiery
spirit of female heroine Eileen O'Neill. This poignant tale details life in northeastern Ireland during the fight for Irish Home Rule. The author does a superb job providing the reader with perfectly paced, crystal clear snapshots of this tumultuous time in history.
We first meet Eileen O'Neill as a child in an idyllic setting, where family and friends are closely knit, steeped in tradition and local lore. I found myself quickly invested in the main character. The author skillfully portrays the innocence of the young Eileen and gives her a voice that is natural yet distinctly Irish. Falvey’s ability to engage the auditory sense in her writing is a rare treat, indeed. One can hear the Irish brogue as Eileen tells the story of her family's downfall into poverty, sickness, death, and dementia. Yet, each of these tragedies is tempered with Eileen’s resiliency that inspires the reader, urging us to turn page after page and share in the full depths of her hopeful spirit.
Central to the turns in Eileen's life is the symbol of the yellow house, her childhood home. As her father’s tale goes, this house was won from one of the most prestigious families in the area, the Sheridans, who run the mill in Queensbrook. With great emphasis on the values of land ownership and the sense of propriety, her father primed the young Eileen to hold the home, her family, and Ireland in the highest esteem and with a "warrior" spirit. When her life careens through one tragedy after another, the journey we take with Eileen casts her in the same light as other literary Irish heroines such as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind" and Shannon Christie (Nicole Kidman) in the movie "Far and Away". Eileen's fighting spirit prevails—through the loss of her little sister to scarlet fever, the subsequent splintering of her family, the loss of her father and their house in an uprising, the loss of her mother to mental illness, and her brother to the ill-fated legacy of his illegitimate birth.
Displacing her "warrior" spirit love of family and home, she falls easily under the spell of political zeal of the times. She marries a violent man and becomes embroiled in his fanatic brand of political action. That is, until she becomes a mother. Left to fend for her own financial survival, she works her fingers to the bone to survive. Eileen learns tolerance and the proper balance of holding her tongue. Owen Sheridan, the son of the wealthy family from whom her beloved and now lost home had been won, becomes her employer and the ultimate test of her loyalties.
"The Yellow House" has all the features of a great historical romance novel, and yet it is so much more than that. Some stories speak to our minds and others speak to our hearts; "The Yellow House" does both. This novel’s historical content, in and of itself, is intellectually stimulating. But, add Patricia Falvey's masterful crafting of words and voice, and you get an emotionally engaging novel that is hard to put down. For this reason, I read "The Yellow House" in one day. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves history, romance, and literary fiction with strong female characters.

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Ricki Jill Treleaven - Goodreads

This week I read The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey. I love reading books by Irish writers, especially those from Northern Ireland as I am from Scotch-Ulster descent. This book chronicles the story ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Coconut Creek Book Club ❧ - Goodreads

4th Pick, September 2012 pick ~ Chosen by Nadine. We enjoyed the setting of Northern Ireland in the early 1900s, and gaining insight into Ireland's bid for independence from England, but several ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Holly Weiss - Goodreads

Rereading this for March group read - The Novel Ideas. March 2014. There's never a dull moment in Patricia Falvey's debut novel, The Yellow House. Northern Ireland in the revolutionary period of the ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Irene - Goodreads

Here is the challenge; write a full-length novel exclusively in clichés. Patricia Falvey has accepted this challenge and succeeded with The Yellow House: clichéd characters, clichéd plot, clichéd ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Kris Irvin - Goodreads

I should have loved this book. I am really into the time period it is set in (1914-1920) and I love kind of epic, sweeping stories like this. But I finished the book feeling very disappointed. There ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Christina White - Goodreads

A great read! I loved the way the story was told. Eileen narrated the story using a sharp Irish tongue that I found so charming I wanted to read it out loud. I love a good feisty heroine! The Yellow ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Lindsay - Goodreads

Alright. I admit it. I ended up really enjoying this. The beginning had such a slow build, that I had a hard time getting into it. I wasn't attached to the characters, and I had small hope of it ... Read full review

Review: The Yellow House

User Review  - Judy - Goodreads

This book was a riviting account of events in Northern Ireland in the early 1900's. It is beautifully written with humor and poetry and human emotion. Eileen O'Neill is a bright, stubborn and ... Read full review

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