‘A Family Reunion’ is the latest book by Patricia Scanlan.
When four feisty women from the same family, get together at a family reunion, anything can happen…
‘A Family Reunion’ is a hard hitting and emotional story about a family’s hardship with bitter feelings and revelations.
The story begins on the night of Brigid’s 80th birthday, when a surprise party is organised by her friends and family. Having spent over 60 years giving her life to the Catholic Church and helping those less well off, she’s looking forward to her retirement. But on that night, her younger sister Imelda, who has always jealous of Brigid leaving Ireland and having a more exciting life and leaving her to deal with the family farm and settle for a much slower pace of life than she ever desired. After Imelda reveals the bottled up emotions from the last 60 years, the story then flows for many decades and seen from 3 generations of women. Brigid and Imelda, Imelda’s daughter Keelin and Keelin’s daughter Marie Claire, who has just returned to Ireland from Canada after that her boyfriend was cheating on her.
The story is seen from the different narratives as they all battle with the aftermath of Brigid’s party and all the women are devastated at Imelda’s news.
Imelda is a hard character, she’s selfish absorbed and is not afraid to speak her mind. She longed to leave rural Ireland for the city lights of Dublin, but couldn’t with Brigid becoming a nun and has never forgiving her sister for taking away her opportunity and as the years go by with everyone singing Brigid’s praises, Imelda’s resentment grows.
Brigid is an interesting character, she became a nun to discover more opportunities in life and escape Ireland and found herself loving and embracing helping the sick in Africa and her narratives makes for humbling reading at times.
The story spans over 70 years and it really does make for upsetting and sad reading in part. The Catholic Church has such a strong hold over Ireland and over the years there have been terrible stories revealed with the Catholic Church in the forecourt of them. The Mother and Baby Homes where underage or unwed women had babies only for them to cruelly taken away from them to be sold or to have buried in unmarked graves. Women were unable to get contraceptives and had to travel to Northern Ireland and only recently in 2018, in the Irish Referendum, was it allowed that women could have abortions in Ireland and not have to travel to England for an already traumatic experience.
Patricia has truly written a story that evokes many reactions from the hardships that women faced living in Ireland, the treatment and judgement from the Church that impacted on so many lives as well as the lack of equality. To think, that women were unable to get library cards without consent from their husbands made for truly shocking reading. It’s remarkable to read how the country has progressed throughout the years but without the power and resilience of the women of Ireland, life could be a lot darker.
Sweetly written and crafted with the warmth of Irish culture and dialogue, A story of revelations, hope and the power of family blood, ‘A Family Reunion’ is a poignant and insightful about how the consequences of one night can changes lives forever.
You can buy ‘A Family Reunion’ from Amazon and is also available to buy from good bookshops.