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.
But Eileen also finds herself drawn to Owen Sheridan, the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the milll where she works, and who believes that peace can never be achieved through violence.
The choice that Eileen makes will change the course of all their lives and give her a true understanding of herself. Set in Ulster in the early 20th century, this novel brings to life the conflicts leading up to the birth of the border that divided the island of Ireland, and still exists today.
Ellen Jane Hayes Conor, my grandmother, was a tremendous inspiration in my life and for the character of Eileen O’Neill. Her likeness and gravestone are featured in the one of the slides above.