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Chapter 11 - The Luck of the Irish

Like many people I have some Irish heritage in my family history so I'd be remiss to let March go by without a salute to books which either take place in Ireland or are written by Irish writers. I have read my share of the traditional Irish writers - James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and George Bernard Shaw and even some more contemporary well known authors like Colm Toibin, Frank McCourt, and Patrick Taylor. I struggled to think of more modern Irish authors I've enjoyed but as I looked over my book log, it seems as if there have been more than a few.

Here are some lesser known Irish authors I'd recommend reading this month or any month really as they write good stories often with humor as well as depth.

Niall Williams - I first read Niall Williams with his book This Is Happiness, a book about falling in and out of love as well as a study of a community with all its traditions and foibles. This book was voted best of the year (2020) by The Washington Post and Real Simple magazine. While I have not read others of his, this book certainly motivates me to do so.

Tana French - Writing stand alone novels as well as The Dublin Murder Squad series, Tana French writes richly dark mysteries. I'd recommend the series as well as The Witch Elm which is about a man who, after being beaten doing a robbery, goes to his ancestral home to recover. Once there he undertakes the care of his elderly uncle and finds some things which make him realize his past is not what it appeared to be.

Catherine Ryan Howard - I read her book 56 Days last year and since then have read a few more. The Nothing Man, a #1 bestseller in Ireland is the story of a child Eva, at the age of 12, was the only survivor in an attack that killed the rest of her family. Grown she now has determined to do everything she can to reveal the killer the police have dubbed The Nothing Man. When Eva writes a true crime novel about the experience, the killer reads the book and realizes how close Eva is to unveiling the truth.

Glenn Meade - Meade is a writer of historical suspense. I read The Romanov Conspiracy on a trip to Ireland. The book centers around an American archeologist who finds perfectly preserved bodies that may be the clue to what happened to the Romanov family. The other book I've read of his is Snow Wolf, a Cold War thriller about the plans to assassinate Joseph Stalin. I'd recommend either of these.

Cecelia Ahearn - Getting away from the suspense genre, I'd choose Cecelia Ahearn. Her book P.S. I Love You was made into a movie starring Minnie Driver but, of course, the book was better than the movie. Other good books by her include The Gift, a Christmas story, The Book of Tomorrow , and Postscript, a sequel to P.S. I Love You. Her books have some magical realism in them which is great escapism!

Do you have any lesser known Irish authors you'd like to recommend? Please let me know!


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