Friday, March 9, 2012

The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey: Read-along Part One

Welcome to our first read-along discussion of The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey. I found this read-along a few weeks ago and knew I had to take part.  This read-along is hosted by Books & Movies.   This part of the read-along is for the first two sections of the book: “Glenlea, County Armagh, 1905″ and “Queensbrook Linen Mill, 1913.”

**Spoiler alert: We will be discussing details of the book you might not want to hear about until you actually read it, so if you haven’t read those sections and don’t want to read any spoilers, you should skip this post.

What do you think of the writing?

Loving this story, and give credit to the writing style of the author.  The writing style is so personal and very tied to the main character,  Eileen O'Neill.  Through the writing, I find myself looking through the eyes of Eileen, often feeling the very emotions exhibited by Eileen throughout the pages.  A strong mood is developed through the tragic events of the story.  In contrast, there are light-hearted moments when Eileen describes her love of the Yellow House and the property, the mountain referred to as  Slieve Mullion.  

What do you think of Eileen’s parents?

I have mixed feelings about her parents.  Eileen's father is a fun-loving man, who has a strong connection to the land that was passed down through the generations.  He refers often to the past and the stories of how his family lost and regained The Yellow House.  He shares his love of family and land with his children.  On the other hand, he is not a strong man or good farmer.  He struggles to hold on to what is his, and does not want to show his weakness with his family - rather tries to protect them.  Her father sounds like a wonderful person to be around - a person who wants to do well, but does not always have what it takes to do what he needs to do.

Her mother is a very strong Protestant woman, who came from a well-to-do family, but disappointed that family by getting pregnant and marrying an Irish Catholic.  She steps up to the plate when her family struggles, reaching out to her past.  When she suffers the loss of her child, she then breaks down, not able to hold onto her strong will.  I find her very admirable.  A strong woman who loves her children and who will do whatever it takes to care for them and hold her family together.  I could not imagine having to face the tragedy she had to endure.  While I feel for her, I was angry when she left the family.

In the end both of them leave Eileen and she is left to find her way.

It seems that the book is heading in a romantic direction when it comes to Eileen and Owen Sheridan. What do you think of this potential romance?

Isn't it generally the way things go - characters often fall in love with those that they should not be with, or those they profess to hate?  This is the type of romance that I love to read about.  I am rooting for them to find a way to make it work.  I hope they can overcome their differences and that Eileen sees him as separate from his family.  Owen is the "black sheep of the family", so he isn't following in his family's footsteps.  So far I really like his character.

As we closed the second section, the world is on the brink of the First World War, and Ireland is being torn apart by the fight for Home Rule. Have you learned anything about Ireland or the world at this time period that was new to you?

I am aware that Ireland had many struggles over the years, however, I don't really have any recollection of an of the history brought up in the story.  I love historical fiction, so this is right up my alley.  I prefer to learn about history in this manner.  I find the story tied to the historical aspects very intriguing.  Patricia Falvey intertwines it very well into the fictional accounts.

Next week's reading assignment:  read through page 164 in the hardcover edition, which includes these sections: “War, 1914-1918″ and “Insurrection, 1919-1920.”


  1. Thanks for responding! I agreed - I was very angry at Eileen's mother. I wonder if she ever comes out of her breakdown and is able to be a mother to her children again?

    I really like Owen's character, too, and wonder where that is going....

  2. This is proving to be a great read for me, I love to read historical fiction, but a romance to boot, EEha! While I too was so upset with Eileens mom for leaving, I can understand how she might have felt, how very sad. I know a lady who just couldn't handle it and similarly left her children after a tragedy struck, perhaps that's what makes them tick. I'm going to have a hard time not reading further this week, I would like to just finish it today.

  3. I was very disappointed by Eileen's mother. I thought that such a strong woman would at least bounce back for her other children.


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