Publisher and Publication Date: November 2017.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Source: Complimentary paperback copy from Kevin O’Connell.
It’s 1767. As the eagerly anticipated sequel to Beyond Derrynane begins, Eileen O’Connell avails herself of a fortuitous opportunity to travel back to Ireland. In Two Journeys Home, the O’Connells encounter old faces and new—and their lives change forever.
Her vivacious personality matched only by her arresting physical presence, Eileen returns to Derrynane this time not as a teen aged widow but as one of the most recognised figures at the Habsburg court. Before returning to Vienna she experiences a whirlwind romance, leading to a tumult of betrayal and conflict with the O’Connell clan.
Abigail lives not in the shadow of her sister but instead becomes the principal lady-in-waiting to Empress Maria Theresa.
Hugh O’Connell leaves behind waning adolescence and a fleeting attraction to the youngest archduchess when he begins a military career in the Irish Brigade under Louis XV. But more royal entanglement awaits him in France…
Author Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful tapestry affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe and Protestant Ascendancy–ruled Ireland. Watch as the saga continues to unfold amongst the O’Connell’s, their friends and enemies, at home and abroad.
Two Journeys Home tells the history of Irish people in the courts of Austria and France. The male lead in the book is in the Brigade in these two European countries. This was an aspect of history I found interesting. It is also an interesting storyline, because the books I’ve read who have Irish characters are either in Ireland or they have emigrated to America.
Eileen is the female lead in the book. She is a strong character. Her stature and voice is remarked in terms of masculinity: a husky voice and broad shoulders. This is also an additional feature that is different in regards to books I’ve read where the female characters may have a strong personality but their size is petite.
The point of view in Two Journeys Home is third person. This is my least favorite way to tell a story. The external narrator tells me what is going on in every setting and with all the characters. As a result, I had a difficult time becoming swept up in the story.
I feel one of the intimate scenes in the book is verbose: “…highly athletic erotic experience both possessed, the night exploded in a dizzying blend of ….” Page 136. Just a few words expressing the wonder of the night is significant.
Overall, Two Journey’s Home is a readable story for historical fiction fans. For me, the point of view is not what I like, and this was the contributing factor in giving the story a good rating.
About The Author:
Kevin O’Connell is a native of New York City and the descendant of a young officer of what had—from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French Army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.
An international business attorney, Mr. O’Connell is an alumnus of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.
A lifelong personal and scholarly interest in the history of eighteenth-century Ireland, as well as that of his extended family, led O’Connell to create his first book, Beyond Derrynane, which will, together with Two Journeys Home and the two books to follow, comprise the Derrynane Saga.
The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland.
O’Connell is a fantastic storyteller. His prose is so rich and beautiful it is a joy to read. The story is compelling and the characters memorable – all the more so because they are based on real people. . . I am Irish but I did not know about this piece of Irish history. It is fascinating but historical fiction at the same time . . . Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers!
(c) Beth Nolan, Beth’s Book Nook
I enjoyed the first part of the Saga awhile back . . . (and) couldn’t wait to continue the story of Eileen and her family . . . this author really does have a way with words. The world and the characters are so vivid . . . Overall, I was hooked from page one. I honestly think that (Two Journeys Home) was better than (Beyond Derrynane) – which is rare. The characters and world-building was done in such a beautiful manner . . . I can’t wait for the next one . . .
(c) Carole Rae, Carole’s Sunday Review, Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe . . . is a gripping story that will transport the reader back in time, a story with a strong setting and compelling characters . . . a sensational romance, betrayal, family drama and intrigue . . . The plot is so complex that I find it hard to offer a summary in a few lines, but it is intriguing and it holds many surprises . . . great writing. Kevin O’Connell’s prose is crisp and highly descriptive. I was delighted (by) . . . how he builds the setting, offering . . . powerful images of places, exploring cultural traits and unveiling the political climate of the time . . . The conflict is (as well-developed as the characters) and it is a powerful ingredient that moves the plot forward . . . an absorbing and intelligently-crafted historical novel . . . .
(c) Divine Zapa for Readers’ Favourite
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