Orla McAlinden has written a very ‘real’ novel.
The Accidental Wife is written with passion, truth and honesty and I feel very grateful to have been sent a copy by the author for review.
Published by Sowilo Press, The Accidental Wife, is now available in the very best of bookshops and online.
Please continue reading for my full & honest review.
‘Marion Smith has a secret. So does Colette McCann.
Why did Matthew Jordan slip his passport into his pocket before he kissed his wife goodbye and drove to work.
Set against the tense background of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, The Accidental Wife follows the twists and turns of the McCann family over seven decades.
How many generations will these secrets destroy?’
The Accidental Wife is an interwoven collection of short stories that introduces you to the characters young and old of the McCann family.
Set in Northern Ireland, a part of the island that Orla McAlinden is very familiar with, as a reader you can’t help but be aware of how personal this book was for Orla to write.
‘We shared the same fears: the stranger in the yard, the late-night knock at the door, the child who leaves home in a school uniform and returns in a closed coffin. I have not told “your story” except to the extent that your story is also my story, and that the deeds of four dark decades have collectively become our story.’
Dominic and Joan McCann are the two main characters who we are introduced to. Dominic, born and bred to farming and Joan, living in a council estate marry early and it is their families before and after, whose lives we follow.
Through the eyes of these ordinary people, Orla McAlinden brings the reader into their homes.
There is something almost voyeuristic in the manner Orla describes the lives of these ordinary folk. As a reader, it feels like you are there with them…sitting in their kitchen, walking with them on their farm, feeling their anguish, bearing witness to their disappointments and experiencing their pain.
The descriptions of the hooded men, the balaclavas and the brave women, scattered throughout the chapters, interlaced with the veiled threats, the potential for violence and the despair, all come together in this excellent debut.
Orla McAlinden writes from her own fountain of first-hand knowledge, living in Northern Ireland at a time when neighbour was pitted against neighbour. Racism and religious differences were rife and distrust was everywhere.
Each generation had dreams. Whether it be to emigrate and live the American Dream or earn enough money to move to a bigger house with aspirations of grandeur. All carried the hope of a better life untainted by the history of a family that just struggled to survive.
Secrets were kept, never to be revealed.
Orla McAlinden is a new name in Irish literature.
Orla’s writing style is very different to a lot of the books I have been reading in recent times. There is something quite raw about her style that draws the reader in and looking for more.
Orla is already in the throes of her next novel, The Flight of The Wren. The story takes place during The Irish Famine of the 1800s. A completely different story but still with an Irishness to it that Orla seems to have captured in her writing.
I really hope you get an opportunity to read Orla McAlinden. I’m glad I did!!
The Accidental Wife can be purchased Here
Who is Orla McAlinden?
I am an Irish writer, trying to make sense of the world.
My debut novel, The Flight of the Wren was selected to be presented at the Irish Writers’ Centre Greenbean Novel Fair 2016. Hopefully, I’ll have good news about this soon!
In July 2016, Sowilo Press, Philadelphia, published my first collection of short stories, The Accidental Wife, which won the Eludia Award, 2014.
Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk also at Barker and Jones, Naas, Co Kildare, Ireland, or by contacting the author. Join me at Orla McAlinden