In Ireland, the past never dies...
Long ago, on a windswept Irish beach, a young father died saving the life of another man's child.
Thirty years later, his widow, Julia, decides to return to this wild corner of Ireland to lay the past to rest. Her journey sparks others: her daughter Bel, an artist, joins her mother in Ireland, while son Matt and daughter-in-law Rachel, at home in Liverpool, embark on some soul-searching of their own.
As the threads of past and present intertwine, Julia's family confront long-buried feelings of guilt, anger, fear and desire. Only then can they allow the crashing waves of the beach at Doonshean to bond them together once again.
This is a grown-up, thoughtful family drama for fans of Maeve Binchy and Patricia Scanlan.
|Publisher:||Head of Zeus|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Penny Feeny has lived and worked in Cambridge, London and Rome. Since settling in Liverpool many years ago she has been an arts administrator, editor, radio presenter, advice worker, and has brought up five children. Her short fiction has been widely published and broadcast and won several awards. Her first novel, That Summer in Ischia, was one of the summer of 2011's bestselling titles.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A story told in several perspectives, it all began with a death by drowning on the Irish Coast, as now some thirty years later the people have come to connect once again, some knowing, others not so much. Rachel and her husband Matthew with their young son Danny are living in Matthew’s childhood home, the one his mother and stepfather bought after his father drowned when they were on vacation in Ireland. Spending all of his life hearing about his “heroic” father, Michael is contained, restrained and usually even-tempered except when it comes to his half-sister and stepfather. But, his mother headed out to France after her retirement, and now the police have arrived looking for her – her rental was found miles away from where it should have been, and calls to her mobile are unanswered. Michael’s wife Rachel is a bit of a wishy-washy character – too eager to avoid conflict, too anxious, far too contained. She’s got almost no confidence in herself - and that insecurity is palpable to readers. This story was the ultimate family saga- plenty of angst, self-doubt, conflict and untold resolutions of issues and relationships – from finally finding a sense of closure, to witnessing the long-standing effects of a simple act, through resolving ages old conflicts from childhood. With plenty of growth, some current day struggles and a series of events that allowed the family to finally lay some of their issues and conflicts to rest, it was engaging and entertaining – a telenovela with a slight Irish twist. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It spoke to the dysfunctional nature of families. Even the most stable families can be a tad dysfunctional on the inside. The characters were all fully developed and people who I enjoyed meeting via the printed page. “Were all families the same, Bel wondered: existing in a delicate state of checks and balances, compromise and negotiation?” The settings were deftly described and easily imagined by the reader. The beautiful Irish landscape near the sea and the suburban Liverpool locale separated the narrative into two linked stories featuring different members of the same family in 2010. There is also a backstory set in 1981. With themes of loss, forgiveness, self doubt, familial obligation, the complications inherent in step-families, parenthood, and fate, I am very confident that this novel will be enjoyed by many. Highly recommended to those who enjoy quality women’s fiction and/or a great family saga.
The Beach at Doonshean is a beautiful isolated beach in Ireland, which is the setting of a terrible tragedy that begins this novel, and tells the story of how William Wentworth saved a child's life, Tom, that day in 1981 and come to lose his own. Many years later, Williams' wife Julia visits the beach and her life is again intertwined with Tom's family. This is an epic story of tragedy and loss and how events of the past affects family development, acceptance of grief and pain. This is all taking place in the beautiful setting of Ireland. Feeny masterfully created these characters that are as everyday as possible and yet truly complex and relatable that pushes the reader to want to read more about them and their individual ways of dealing with pain, guilt, anger and fear. It is a beautifully written Adult/Women's Fiction.
There's something about novels set in Ireland which attract me like a moth to a flame, and this is latest one I have so enjoyed. Many years ago, Julia lost her first husband - and the father of her son - to a freak accident on an Irish beach. Understandably, she has never returned .. until now. Having recently retired and now divorced from her second husband with whom she has a daughter, she has swapped residences with her now adult son, his wife and their young lad giving her an apartment in the city and them a larger house in the country. They are still in the process of settling in, but there are other factors upsetting their applecart, not least of all the appearance of Matt's ex-stepfather. Families are never easy - and this one is no different . . . From the very beginning, it's obvious that there is a back story to this one and it unfolds slowly and deliciously with so much happening in the present day to distract the reader from the history of this family. With the introduction of a second family and their relations, there is plenty to consider and I seemed to just fly through this book. I didn't really think about what was coming next; there was so much going on that the future wasn't really an issue. Well written, this has an easy flowing style which is so easy to read - an absolute pleasure in fact. I felt that the setting was just perfect, as was the author's understanding of the characters and the positions they all found themselves in. A really good read which resonated with me; not the first I've come across by Penny Feeny and I'll certainly be watching out for her future novels. Well worth the five stars I'm more than happy to give.
A good book, well written and engrossing. I loved the plot, the fleshed out cast of characters and the setting. This is a book full of emotions, a perfect summer read. Recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
William saved Tom from drowning thirty years ago- but he lost his own life. His widow Julia remarried, raised Matt, her son by William, and Bel, her daughter by her second husband Leo. at the same time, Tom Farilley grew into his own. This big fat family saga is about how things turned out for everyone and how they cope with it when Julia and Tom meet again. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic (well, not always). I loved the descriptions of the beach. Thanks the Netgalley for the ARC. This one is hard to describe in a short review but know that fans of modern family sagas that start in tragedy and end in joy will love it.