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Literary Friday: The Yellow House

Friday, June 1, 2012


This week I read The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey.  I love reading books by Irish writers, especially those from Northern Ireland as I am from Scotch-Ulster descent.

This book chronicles the story of the O'Neill family and their home, the "yellow house," situated at the base of Slieve Guillon mountain in Ulster.  Eileen O'Neill is a child when her Da brings home gallons of canary-yellow paint for the home's exterior.  The O'Neills are celebrating the centennial of Warrior Hugh O'Neill's victory over the wealthy Sheridans: Hugh won the house in a card game and the family has called it home for 100 years. When Eileen climbs Slieve Guillon, she realizes the yellow house stands out above every structure for miles around.  Eileen is a proud O'Neill, and her Da calls her his "little warrior" because she is an O'Neill through and through.

Shortly after the O'Neills' house painting party,   a series of unfortunate events devastates the family and they lose the yellow house.  Eileen is taken in by family friends and begins work in one of the local linen mills.  She grows up during a time of change and civil unrest in Ireland-- World War I, which quickly segues into civil war.  Eileen becomes involved with the IRA as she lives up to her little warrior legacy. She becomes involved with a handsome political activist, James Conlon, and a dashing and wealthy mill owner, Owen Sheridan.  The Sheridans are Quakers and known for their fairness: They do not discriminate between Protestants and Catholics.  This love triangle is one of the most dramatic I have read in a long time.  There are many surprises in the plot, and it is a very well-written book.

The Yellow House is chock-full of history, romance, drama (tons of it), family secrets, action, intrigue, and suspense.  Eileen's prickly and defensive personality made me much less sympathetic toward her.  I wanted to shake her for most of the book, and I had to constantly remind myself that she had been traumatized by violence and tragedy at a young age.  However, the ending is very satisfying, and readers should appreciate Eileen's transformation.

I enjoyed The Yellow House so much that I am currently reading The Linen Queen (also by Falvey).  Its story is centered around World War II, but so far I don't think that it's a sequel.

Don't forget that Literary Friday becomes a link party next Friday, June 8th.  Please share what you've been reading, or your Summer Reading List.

Until next time...

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. Ooh this looks like a must read!

  2. Sounds like a great book! I too love Irish writers and am discovering them all the time! Have you read any of Marian Keyes books? She is a very funny writer!! I just read This Charming Man and it was really good and funny. Lots of twists that came together in the end.

  3. Every time this year I head to Barnes & Noble to for a few summer reads. I don't seem to read as many novels any longer but in the summer I like to. You may have suggested my first summer read but which one should I read first?

  4. Thanks so much for the recommendation. You know, my ex's family has a connection to Ulster too. Their name was changed to Uster but there's history there. Very interesting!


  5. Thanks Ricki Jill, I must add this to my list.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm an artist and an avid reader, and I also enjoy decorating for the seasons. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for reading The Bookish Dilettante!

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