Brotherly Love

A 19th-Century Irish Romance

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
312 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

A work of historical fiction, Brotherly Love: A 19th-Century Irish Romance by Lorna Peel tells of the love affair between Catriona Brady, the young widow of a former champion fighter who died a violent death, and Michael Warner, the handsome and desirable brother of the local priest. It’s a requirement of a good love story that the lovers be challenged and endure pain and suffering that drives them apart. In this period of Ireland’s history, the violence was particularly bad and life, for the peasants, was especially hard. Readers will feel deeply for poor Catriona, who endures shocking torment from her husband’s former enemies. She faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles as she struggles against both social pressures and her doubts and fears. While desperately hoping Michael can give Catriona the security and happiness she craves, we question his integrity and fear the consequences of widespread exposure to his sordid past. What is his secret?

Brotherly Love takes us back in time to the mid-1800s in Ireland, and into a society that many of us will struggle to understand. For me, it’s always a treat to be transported into cultures where life is vastly different from the comfortable and familiar. I love getting to know and understand people who are the product of a different way of life. Lorna Peel writes as one who has studied history and familiarized herself with the language and customs of the period. She brings the characters to life so that you cheer and weep for them as if they were your closest friends. The plot moves along in a manner that keeps you glued to your chair and turning the pages right to the end, then feeling deeply satisfied when you close the book. This is a beautiful story, skillfully told to expose the harsh truths of a troubled period of Ireland’s history, while simultaneously evoking admiration for the stamina, courage, and empathy of people who endure terrible hardship. It was an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it, and I’ll look for more works by this author.