Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Suppose you are a lover of everything Irish. In that case, there is no better way to experience the rich culture and traditions of the Emerald Isle than by reading the rich literature that comes from this robust island. This year, readers of Irish lit (or Hibernophiles, which means lovers of everything Ireland) have great reads to add to their ever-growing TBR pile.
So make sure you are wearing something green and have your favorite pint (or cup of tea) right next to you because I am going to list you some great new and upcoming releases from Irish authors that will make you truly appreciate “the luck of the Irish”:
- The Gifts That Bind Us by Caroline O’Donoghue
- Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
- These Days by Lucy Caldwell
- Breaking Point by Edel Coffey
- Cruel Deeds by Catherine Kirwan
- Tell Everyone on This Train I Love Them by Maeve Higgins
The Interview by Gill Perdue
Expected Publication Date: March 24
A girl covered in blood. A missing man. A coded fairy tale. Detective Laura Shaw seems to have it all: a supportive husband, a happy two-year-old and a great career. She is her team’s top victim interviewer, a genius at getting vulnerable people to open up. That’s until she meets Jenny – a 14-year-old assault victim who talks only in fairy tales. Jenny’s stepfather is missing and the blood on her clothes isn’t her own, so Laura’s colleagues need answers fast. But Laura’s strange behaviour makes the girl shut down even more, leaving her bewildered partner, Niamh, desperately trying to rescue the situation. It seems that this case has triggered something deep within Laura, and Jenny is not the only one with secrets. As the clock ticks down, Laura teeters on the brink of disaster, grappling with the biggest question of all: Is every life worth saving? (Credit: Penguin Books)
Expected Publication Date: March 31
In August 2018, Sally Hayden received a Facebook message. ‘Hi sister Sally, we need your help,’ it read. ‘We are under bad condition in Libya prison. If you have time, I will tell you all the story.’ More messages followed from more refugees. They told stories of enslavement and trafficking, torture and murder, tuberculosis and sexual abuse. And they revealed something else: that they were all incarcerated as a direct result of European policy.
From there began a staggering investigation into the migrant crisis across North Africa. This book follows the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary, but it also surveys the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations. The economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade and the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias. The trials of people smugglers, the frustrations of aid workers, the loopholes refugees seek out and the role of social media in crowdfunding ransoms. Who was accountable for the abuse? Where were the people finding solutions? Why wasn’t it being widely reported?
At its heart, this is a book about people who have made unimaginable choices, risking everything to survive in a system that wants them to be silent and disappear. (Credit: HarperCollins Publishers)
None Of This Is Serious by Catherine Prasifka
Expected Publication Date: April 7
Dublin student life is ending for Sophie and her friends. They’ve got everything figured out, and Sophie feels left behind as they all start to go their separate ways. She’s overshadowed by her best friend Grace. She’s been in love with Finn for as long as she’s known him. And she’s about to meet Rory, who’s suddenly available to her online. At a party, what was already unstable completely falls apart and Sophie finds herself obsessively scrolling social media, waiting for something (anything) to happen. None of This Is Serious is about the uncertainty and absurdity of being alive today. It’s about balancing the real world with the online, and the vulnerabilities in yourself, your relationships, your body. At its heart, this is a novel about the friendships strong enough to withstand anything. (Credit: Canongate Books)
Seven Steeples by Sara Baume
Expected Publication Date: April 7
The mountain remained, unclimbed, for the first year that they lived there. Bell and Sigh, a couple in the infancy of their relationship, cut themselves off from friends and family. They turn their backs on a city divided by scores of streets and hundreds of sterile cherry trees, by a foul river and a declining population of house sparrows. Them in and the world out. From the top of the nearby mountain, they are told, you can see seven standing stones, seven schools, and seven steeples. All you have to do is climb. Taking place in a remote house in the south-west of Ireland, this rich and vivid novel spans seven years and speaks to the times we live in, asking how we may withdraw, how better to live in the natural world, and how the choices made or avoided lead us home. (Credit: Tramp Press)
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
Expected Publication Date: April 14
There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family. But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever. As people get up each morning and go to work, school, church or the pub, the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploded, another man beaten, killed or left for dead.
In the class Cushla teaches, the vocabulary of seven-year-old children now includes phrases like ‘petrol bomb’ and ‘rubber bullets’. And as she is forced to tread lines she never thought she would cross, tensions in the town are escalating, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together. (Credit: Bloomsbury UK)
Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage by Deirdre Finnerty
Expected Publication Date: April 21
For over seventy years, Bessborough House, a grand country mansion on the outskirts of Cork city, operated as one of Ireland’s biggest mother and baby institutions. Women and girls who walked up its stone steps were warned never to reveal their true identities and gave birth to babies they would not be allowed to keep.
In Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage, a trio of remarkable women confined there in the 60s, 70s and 80s, tell their truths. Their vivid accounts take us right inside the walls of the secretive institution and give us a deep insight into how their experiences impacted their lives afterwards.
The result is a stark portrait of a system that split families apart — and a moving account of love, loss and reconnection. (Credit: Hachette Books Ireland)
Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine
Expected Publication Date: May 5
Dublin, 7 October 2019. One day, one city, two women: Ruth and Pen. Neither known to the other, but both asking themselves the same questions: how to be with others and how, when the world doesn’t seem willing to make space for them, to be with themselves?
Ruth’s marriage to Aidan is in crisis. Today she needs to make a choice – to stay or not to stay, to take the risk of reaching out, or to pull up the drawbridge. For teenage Pen, today is the day the words will flow, and she will speak her truth to Alice, to ask for what she so desperately wants. (Credit: Penguin Books UK)
The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
Expected Publication Date: May 10 (UK: May 12)
First Rule: Make them like you.
Second Rule: Make them need you.
Third Rule: Make them pay.
They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.
They think I’m working hard to impress them.
They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.
They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him. (Credit: William Morrow)
Idol by Louise O’Neill
Expected Publication Date: May 12
Follow your heart and speak your truth.’
For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’.
And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events.
Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral.
But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?
‘You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’(Credit: Transworld Publishers Ltd)
The Island by Adrian McKinty
Expected Publication Date: May 26
You should not have come to the island. You should not have been speeding.
You should not have tried to hide the body. You should not have told your children that you could keep them safe.
No one can run forever…(Credit: Orion Publishing Co)
Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood by Kit de Waal
Expected Publication Date: August 18
From the award-winning author of MY NAME IS LEON, THE TRICK TO TIME and SUPPORTING CAST comes a childhood memoir set to become a classic: stinging, warm-hearted, and true. Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn’t have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came. Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape. WITHOUT WARNING AND ONLY SOMETIMES is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day. (Credit: Headline Publishing Group)
Haven by Emma Donoghue
Expected Publication Date: August 18 (US: August 23)
In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks—young Trian and old Cormac—he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean? (Credit: Little Brown and Company)
The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan
Expected Publication Date: August 18
The Aylward women of Nenagh, Tipperary, are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. You’d have to know them to know – in spite of what the neighbours might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes – that their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world.
Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It involves wives and widows, gunrunners and gougers, sinners and saints. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. About all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn’t. From the prize-winning author of Strange Flowers and The Spinning Heart, The Queen of Dirt Island is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that bind generations together.
Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard
Expected Publication Date: August 16 (UK: August 18)
Movie-making can be murder.
Final Draft, a psychological horror, being filmed at a house deep in a forest, miles from anywhere in the wintry wilds of West Cork.
Former soap-star Adele Rafferty has stepped in to replace the original actress at the very last minute. She can’t help but hope that this opportunity will be her big break – and she knows she was lucky to get it, after what happened the last time she was on a set.
Something isn’t quite right about Final Draft. When the strange goings-on in the script start to happen on set too, Adele begins to fear that the real horror lies off the page…(Credit: Atlantic Books)
Forever Home by Graham Norton
Expected Publication Date: September 29
Carol is a divorced teacher living in a small town in Ireland, her only son now grown. A second chance at love brings her unexpected connection and belonging. The new relationship sparks local speculation: what does a woman like her see in a man like that? What happened to his wife who abandoned them all those years ago? But the gossip only serves to bring the couple closer.
When Declan becomes ill, things start to fall apart. His children are untrusting and cruel, and Carol is forced to leave their beloved home with its worn oak floors and elegant features and move back in with her parents.
Carol’s mother is determined to get to the bottom of things, she won’t see her daughter suffer in this way. It seems there are secrets in Declan’s past, strange rumours that were never confronted and suddenly the house they shared takes on a more sinister significance.