“But happiness is a fragile thing.”
Glasgow, Scotland 2000 – Oonagh O’Neil is small, slim, in her mid-thirties, and having an affair with a married man. An only child, she is still grieving for her father who died two years previously. She has adopted her father’s old cat despite having asthma. A successful television journalist, Oonagh O’Neil is working on a documentary exposing the abhorrent treatment that was inflicted on the infamous Magdalene girls. In the process of her investigations, she becomes friends with a young priest named Tom. When the older priest at Tom’s church is murdered, Oonagh becomes involved in the matter, as friends do… Also, Oonagh is friends with the detective inspector tasked with the case. Her involvement will threaten her livelihood and even her very life.
DI Davies of the Strathclyde Police is investigating the suspicious death of a Catholic priest. Meanwhile, he is breaking in a new partner, DS McVeigh, and trying with little success to get used to him and his quirks.
1958 – Irene Connolly‘s father was a doctor. He was also the father of her baby son… To cover up his culpability, he sent his daughter Irene to the Magdalene Institution, a place where she was horribly tortured and and forever emotionally scarred.
“It’s the scars you can’t see that hurt the most.”
I’m sorry that it took me so long to get to this book. I was riveted from start to finish and I’ve already loaded the second and third book in the series on my Kindle.
The dual timelines were inextricably linked in a fashion that was believable and interesting. I was consumed by the story of the Magdalene girls and although it was difficult to read of their plight, it was a part of history that shouldn’t be forgotten. I learned that the Magdalene Institution was not only in Ireland, but in Glasgow, Scotland as well.
The series protagonist, Oonagh O’Neil, was a character that I immediately bonded with. For some reason she put me in mind of Susie Steiner’s character, Manon Bradshaw. From me, that is high praise indeed.
This well written crime novel touches on some difficult themes of domestic abuse, self-harm, journalistic ethics, and the corruption within the Catholic Church.
Highly recommended to those who enjoy well written crime fiction with a hefty dose of history thrown in for good measure. This was an impressive series debut!
You might be interested in viewing the YouTube video where the author Theresa Talbot talks a little about her research for this novel.
ISBN: 9781788545327 ASIN: B0798S5LN1 466 pages
Theresa Talbot is a freelance writer, journalist and radio presenter, perhaps best known as the voice of Traffic and Travel on BBC Radio Scotland and as the host of The Beechgrove Potting Shed. Prior to working with the BBC she was with Radio Clyde and the AA Roadwatch team. Theresa worked in various roles before entering the media as an assistant in children’s homes, a Pepsi Challenge girl and a library assistant. She ended up at the BBC because of an eavesdropped conversation on a no.66 bus in Glasgow. Her passions include rescuing chickens, gardening, music and yoga.
Follow Theresa Talbot on Twitter: @Theresa_Talbot