Ned awoke with a start.
The atmosphere in the darkened cabin was warm and close, smelling of lavender wax and fresh linen.
Ned Halloran has just survived the sinking of the Titanic. Traumatised by the loss of life, including that of his parents, he returns home to Ireland. His older brother takes over the running of the farm and Ned is lucky enough to be sent to school. The school chosen for him is St. Edna’s, or Scoil Eanna, a secondary school set up by Padraig Pearse. There he becomes caught up by the nationalist feelings and teaching and becomes involved in the Easter Rising of 1916.
Plenty of real, historical figures feature in this novel, Pearse, Ceannt, DeValera, and Collins among others all make an appearance. But it is the fictional Ned who is at the heart of the story. His are the eyes that interpret what is going on for the readers, however, the author does show that she has researched the actual events with a fair few references scattered throughout the story. To be totally honest this did feel like a book meant for an audience unfamiliar with the historical events, and quite a bit of time was devoted to explaining what was going on rather than simply getting on with the story. Probably necessary, but a bit jarring on occasion.
Overall the book is quite readable. Ned is a fairly likeable narrator, and the writing does enough to keep you interested. Does that sound like I’m damning this with false praise? I don’t mean too. It is a very readable book. It just doesn’t shine in any department. Average, but a good way to learn about the historical period.