One of my favourite things about visiting Ireland is their admiration for their literary heros. I’m not sure it’s possible to not be reminded of James Joyce or Oscar Wilde while you’re there. Their literary history is constantly referenced throughout the country. I love that. I don’t see a lot of monuments to Canadian literary icons when wandering around here. Not to say that there aren’t any, I just haven’t seen them.
Anyway, last year I posted My 5 Little Bits about Ireland and this year I thought I’d add to it. As I mentioned, Ireland has a rich literary history. Without a doubt, that tradition has continued to this day. In fact, I find that many of my favourite writers are Irish women. Here are my top two. If you haven’t read a book by these ladies recently, I suggest you pick one up!
Sheila O’Flanagan: I was introduced to Sheila O’Flanagan’s books when my parents received a recommendation from a bookstore employee. I was working at a resort at the time and they included it as part of a care package. I’m not sure which book I read first but after that moment, I made sure to finish her entire catalog. Her latest, “Better Together” focused on life in a small town from the perspectives of two different women. The first, Sheridan, a young woman who’s just lost her job, boyfriend and apartment and Nina whose husband of decades has found national fame and isn’t sure if the small town life is right for him anymore. The book struck a perfect balance of the romance of new love and the difficulties that may come with older relationships.
Marian Keyes: Upon my discovery of Sheila O’Flanagan, I started looking for Irish authors specifically. Marian Keyes was another terrific find. I loved the way she marries serious situations with romantic comedy. I particularly like her series about the Walsh sisters which has been spread out over a decade with a book focuses on each one. The latest in the series, “The Mystery of Mercy Close“, has sister Helen a private investigator, trying to track down a missing member of a newly reunited boyband. While trying to solve the case, she’s also struggling with depression which she has been hospitalized with before. Although, you would think this would be a completely maudlin story, it’s actually very interesting and quite funny.