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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Bittersweet Tapestry is a work of historical fiction set in Europe in the eighteenth century and was penned by author Kevin O’Connell. The novel continues The Derrynane Saga after the exciting events of Beyond Derrynane and Two Journeys Home, wherein we met a cast of characters spread out across Catholic Europe as they sought marriage, fortune and promising social connections. In this new and even more eventful volume, we meet Eileen and Arthur O’Leary in the summer of 1770 as they bring their family back to Ireland to settle in. Their ties to the different Irish families who have settled in Europe and serve different kings and dynasties keep them connected as the continent falls into its darkest and bloodiest regimes yet.
If you’re looking for a historical fiction novel which has all the glamour and social intrigue of Hapsburg high society, combined with the bloodthirsty and dangerous world of France and Ireland on the brink of social revolutions, then this is the book for you. It was quite incredible to see the skill with which author Kevin O’Connell keeps pace with the ever-changing political dynamics of Europe, and yet deftly allows that to take a backseat to the dramas of Hugh, Eileen and the rest as they simply try to love and live on the verge of chaos. The dialogue is accessible but sounds authentically aged, whilst the evolution of Irish Catholic culture in different parts of Europe was really interesting to learn about. Overall, Bittersweet Tapestry is an excellent addition to an already superb series.