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Set in Ireland during the turbulent early 20th century, Patricia Falvey's sweeping novel explores an unlikely friendship between two girls of vastly different backgrounds, as each tries to overcome the barriers set by class and birthright...
On a June morning in 1900, Rosie Killeen crosses the road that divides her family's County Mayo farm from the estate of Lord and Lady Ennis, and makes her way to the "big house" for the first time. Barely eight years old, Rosie joins the throng of servants preparing for the arrival of Queen Victoria. But while the royal visit is a coup for Ennismore, a chance meeting on the grounds proves even more momentous for Rosie.
Victoria Bell, Lord and Lady Ennis's young daughter, is desperately lonely. Though the children of the gentry seldom fraternize with locals, Lord Ennis arranges for Rosie to join in Victoria's school lessons. For Rosie, the opportunity is exhilarating yet isolating. Victoria's governess and aunt, Lady Louisa, objects to teaching a peasant girl. The other servants resent Rosie's escape from the drudgery of life below stairs. Bright, strong-willed Rosie finds herself caught between her own people and the rarefied air of Ennismore--especially as she grows closer to Victoria's older brother, Valentine.
As they near womanhood, the girls' friendship is interrupted. Victoria is bound for a coming out season in Dublin, and Rosie must find a way to support her family. But Ireland is changing too. The country's struggle for Home Rule, the outbreak of the Great War, and a looming Easter rebellion in Dublin all herald a new era. Not even Ennismore can escape unscathed. And for Rosie, family loyalty, love, friendship and patriotism will collide in life-changing ways, leading her through heartbreak and loss in search of her own triumphant independence.
Advance praise for The Girls of Ennismore
“An evocative, heartfelt story of how the bond of female friendship can survive and thrive through adversity. Beautifully drawn, full of rich historical detail, and with a truest Irish sense of place, I was seduced from page one.” —Kate Kerrigan, New York Times bestselling author of Ellis Island
“Two friends, born of vastly different worlds, dare to defy convention and the strict bindings of societal class in Falvey’s latest novel. Rich in authentic historical and Irish detail, The Girls of Ennismore is a compelling story of love, duty, and reinvention, highlighting the vast rewards—or grave consequences—of following one’s heart. Fans of Downton Abbey will devour this sweeping tale.” —Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge of Lost
“A captivating portrayal of life in Ireland—above and below stairs—during the years leading up to the Great War and the Irish rebellion. Engaging, atmospheric and packed with rich historical detail. I thoroughly enjoyed The Girls of Ennismore.” —Hazel Gaynor, author of The Girl from The Savoy