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Two Irish Lads: Second Edition
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
About the Author
Gerry Burnie is a retired professor who has lectured extensively on the topic of pioneer settlement. His family connections to the Baldwin area of York Region—the setting of his novel—go back nearly two hundred years. Therefore, he has called upon both his academic understanding and his sentiment in writing this novel.
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The book did have a few minor drawbacks, however. The text is presented as a series of journal entries by Sean---and one would think that this is about the most intimate way one could become acquainted with another's thoughts, dreams, and hopes. But despite the format, I still didn't really get a sense of knowing Sean or Patrick; they didn't come fully to life for me as three-dimensional people, as compared to some characters in other novels I've read which were written as standard third-person narratives. Also, I have to say that some of the actions and attitudes on display throughout the course of the plot had a distinctly contemporary feeling for me; more than once I was thinking "Wait a moment, I don't really believe it would have happened this way in 1820...." And finally, the meteoric rise of the fortunes of Sean and Patrick after they set foot on Canadian soil seemed to me a bit unrealistic. The action of the story takes place in just one year, and a LOT happens to them in that year. I could easily see the specifics of the plot unfold over a longer period of time---say five years at the least---but as presented, I thought the events depicted took place rather rapidly.
Still, all told these are not major issues for me, and I'll recommend the book for those interested in historical drama. I believe the author has more historical tales in the pipeline, and I'll be happy to read more of his work.
My attention was drawn by the premise: Two young men leave Ireland to carve out a homestead during Canada's pioneer era. They settle in Ontario, encounter a dizzying array of circumstances, none of which are probable and on top of it, they fall in love with each other.
This early era in North American life is one of my favorite genres. Other reviews mention the superb footnotes, again a fav in such books. But these were worthless and added absolutely nothing to the story telling for anyone with even a meagre education.
Lastly, the book purports to be a romance between two men. The forward of the book notes there will be no explicit scenes between these guys. Fair enough if there were something else to take the place. In 1810 these men show no introspection or character development which would explain their thinking in such a situation.
What we have here is an immigrant with a heart of gold who is given nothing but luck in the plot and repeated opportunities to help others. Ok, it is what it is. But I would not recommend it to anyone. There are much better, well edited books, about the era and about the phenomenon of two men falling in love in a hostile environment.
If anything, this writing might be the basis of a first draft of a book. With a good editor, it might have been something worth reading & recommending.
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