Cave of Secrets

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Cave of Secrets

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Donna Miller
Set in seventeenth-century Ireland, this is a tale of family relationships, corrupt politicians, devil-may-care rebels, and dangerous law-breakers. These universal and timeless plot situations, coupled with interesting characters, make this title as relevant to today's readers as if it were set in the 21st century. Tom and his family have led a privileged life in their Big House near Roaringwater Bay, but their situation soon becomes precarious due to his father's failing financial strategies, the dubious suitor selected for his older sister, and his mother's on-going melancholy. Tom's father's latest rejection prompts Tom to range further and further from home in search of adventure, happiness, or perhaps due to a wanderlust that has become overpowering as his family life deteriorates. Upon exploring the forbidden Roaringwater Bay, he meets a band of smugglers and discovers a totally different way of life, one of hardship but true familial happiness. As Tom spends more and more time with his new-found friends, he begins to realize how bereft he and his family are of the things that matter most. Tom learns about a new world of smugglers, boats, and a secret treasure. More importantly, Tom resolves to abandon his life of material wealth and focus instead on the wealth that loving families provide. When he discovers that the smugglers are indeed a part of his real family, he becomes the catalyst for bringing his entire family back together, despite past hurts and superficial differences. This title may seem to be aimed at boys, but girls will also relish this lively story. Llywelyn knows of the country and historical timeframe that she describes, and this, coupled with her writing skills, make this an appealing tale for a broad audience. Reviewer: Donna Miller
Kirkus Reviews
This middle-grade historical novel set in Ireland during the mid-17th century is low on character and a little muddled in story but offers lots of history. Thirteen-year-old Tom Flynn's father ignores him or cuffs him, devoting his attention to keeping his land and spoiling his daughters. Tom's mother is sickly and withdrawn, and Tom escapes to the cliffs and caves of Roaringwater Bay by their home in West Cork. In those caves he discovers Donal, who speaks Irish and whose father, he says, is a king. Tom becomes intrigued by Donal's family, and Donal's small sister Maura attaches herself fiercely to "Tomflynn." Tom's father goes off to Dublin and beyond to secure his family's place in the shifting political landscape, and Donal's father supports his family by smuggling. Donal's family, who makes what they need and works the sea, opens Tom's eyes to a different life from the one his father is trying to secure. The secrets of the caves reveal not only what Donal's family does, but how Tom's mother is connected to them. The denouement involves a little more forgiveness and turnabout than one might reasonably expect. A lot of English and Irish history and culture is dropped in when the focus shifts away from Tom, slowing the storyline and frequently failing to compel; a coda explains the real historical characters around Tom and Donal. For those fascinated by Irish history, but probably not many more. (Historical fiction. 9-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847172075
  • Publisher: O'Brien Press, Limited, The
  • Publication date: 6/20/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 812,520
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.65 (d)

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