The Blood Upon The Rose
Set in Ireland in the year 1919 when tension is dividing the loyalties of family and friend alike, heiress Catherine O’Connell-Gort is torn between her class status, her passion for her secret lover, Sean Brennan an IRA volunteer hunted by the police for murder and terrorism, and the demands of her father, a colonel in the British Military Intelligence.
The conflict increases when Catherine’s father decides that she is to marry Major Andrew Butler, who has been given the brief to assassinate Michael Collins, the IRA leader.
I enjoyed the story, readers who have been thrilled by the TV Drama Series Downton Abbey will very much enjoy the Irish connection, as this could almost be a sort of behind-the-scenes look at the life of Lady Sybil and her Irish husband, Tom.
However, I found some of the characters to be a little stereotypical, and perhaps not quite true to the factual history of the time, a little predictable in their actions perhaps? But this is a novel, does it matter that modern-day views are portrayed by fictional people of the past?
I also found the opening a little slow to get into – but once involved I found myself rooting for the two young lovers, desperately hoping that love would conquer all.
The description of the IRA and the early, highly emotive, conflict in Ireland is vividly drawn by author Vicary, as is the mixture of imagined story and historical fact.
A good read.