The Girls of Ennismore

“The Girls of Ennismore,” the latest novel by Patricia Falvey,  is set between 1900 and 1918 during the turbulent time in Irish history when Anglo-Irish aristocrats are slowly losing their grip on wealth and power as  native Irish are demanding freedom from British rule.  It is the story of an unlikely friendship between two girls. Victoria Bell, daughter of the “Gentry” and Rosie Killeen, a farmer’s daughter, embody this bond and struggle to maintain their friendship against the pull of prejudice, class distinction, social upheaval and outright rebellion.

“The Girls of Ennismore” offers a compelling new spin on such timeless themes as the uniqueness of women’s friendships, the eternal pull of “home,” and the challenges of forbidden love in a time of turmoil. It is reminiscent of such iconic works as “Gone with the Wind,” “Dr. Zhivago,” and more recently, “Downton Abbey.”

Rosie and Victoria

It is 1900.  It is a time and place where men rule supreme in every household.  Women are little more than property or ornaments or drudges and given little to do other than be decorative or serve those decorative women and their homes. For women in this early part of the 20th century options and opportunities were few and had to be carefully considered, if ever even offered.

This is the story of an abiding friendship between two young women that begins in the Spring of that year.  Rosie and Victoria have little in common from all outward appearances.  Victoria is the younger of the two.  She is a fair, wealthy, titled, privileged and shy innocent protected from the world.  She meets Rosie who is forward, fearless, poor and proud.  Rosie is a defiant servant girl – spirited, dark and high tempered.   It is an attraction between opposites that begins as soon as they meet.

The Yellow House

I remember the summers best, when the days rested in the long arms of evening and the sounds around Slieve Guillon were as muted as benediction. Only the faint barking of distant dogs cut the stillness as farmers drove their cattle home. Smoke curled from cottage chimneys and children gulped down tea so they could return to play while time hovered between day and night like a gift from heaven.

Glenlea, County Armagh, Ireland 1905. When her family is torn aprt by religious intolerance, personal tragedy, and explosive secrets, young Eileen O’Neill is determined to reclaim the Yellow House where her family had been happy and bring her broken family back home
As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the personal impact of the conflict. Her choice is complicated by the influence of two men. James Conlon, a charismatic and passionate politcal activit is determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, appeals to her warrior’s soul.

The Linen Queen

I thought of all the other women like me here and abroad who waited for news of loved ones. We were the women who were not mothers and wives to whom official information would be delivered by telegram or by unifomred offers. We were the women hidden in the corners and crevices, behind doors and curtains, the women who must wait for scraps of information, for hearsay and rumor. And yet for us, the waiting was just as painful.


“Queensbrook, County Armagh, Ireland 1941. Abandoned by her father and neglected by her self-centered, unstable mother, Sheila McGee cannot wait to escape the drudgery of her mill village life in Northern Ireland. Her classic Irish beauty helps her win the 1941 Linen Queen competition, and the prize money that goes with it finally gives her the opportunity she’s been dreaming of. But Sheila does not count on the impact of the Belfast blitz which brings World War II to her doorstep. Now even her good looks are useless in the face of travel restrictions, and her earlier resolve is eroded by her ma’s fear of being left alone.