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Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (The Derrynane Saga) (Volume 2) Paperback – November 1, 2017
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O'Connell is a fantastic storyteller. His prose is so rich and beautiful it is a joy to read. The story is compelling and the characters memorable - all the more so because they are based on real people. . . I am Irish but I did not know about this piece of Irish history. It is fascinating but historical fiction at the same time . . . Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers!
Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe . . . is a gripping story that will transport the reader back in time, a story with a strong setting and compelling characters . . . a sensational romance, betrayal, family drama and intrigue . . . The plot is so complex that I find it hard to offer a summary in a few lines, but it is intriguing and it holds many surprises . . . great writing. Kevin O'Connell's prose is crisp and highly descriptive. I was delighted (by) . . . how he builds the setting, offering . . . powerful images of places, exploring cultural traits and unveiling the political climate of the time . . . The conflict is (as well-developed as the characters) and it is a powerful ingredient that moves the plot forward . . . an absorbing and intelligently-crafted historical novel . . . .
Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe . . . takes the story of the O'Connell family forward. Although I had not read (Beyond Derrynane) I had no (problem) . . . getting into the flow of the story . . .The story flows flawlessly with every scene and every page turn.
(Being) a little over six-feet tall, (with) long raven hair, intelligent beyond her years and Irish, all describe the beautiful Eileen O'Connell (as she) returns to Ireland after spending (almost six) years in the court of Empress Maria Theresa. Her duties in Austria are as nanny and friends with two of the young princesses,Archduchesses Maria Carolina and Maria Antonia. Part of her task (has) also (been) to prepare each of them for their royal lives of the future . . .
. . . Reading the second book in most series, especially if you have not read the first, can be a little difficult. However, Two Journeys Home is easily understandable with much of the first book being reflected upon (by the characters).
This book begins with Eileen's journey to Ireland, (then continuing) back to life in Vienna at court, bringing into light the history of the time period after the Seven Years War between France and Austria including (the early life of the young archduchess who would become known to history as) Marie Antoinette. This (second book in the Derrynane Saga) concludes with her second return to Ireland.
There are conflicts, especially within her family and the expectations, as well as religion and culture of the countries and time period. Surprisingly, much of the story seems to fit together as tightly as a puzzle.
Author Kevin O'Connell has based this Derrynane series on much of his own family history, mixing what could have logically happened into an historical fiction novel. Two Journeys Home is part of a wonderful epic-saga in the past of Ireland, Austria, and France.
About the Author
Kevin O’Connell is a native of New York City and the descendant of a young officer of what had—from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French Army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.
An international business attorney, Mr. O’Connell is an alumnus of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.
A lifelong personal and scholarly interest in the history of eighteenth-century Ireland, as well as that of his extended family, led O’Connell to create his first book, Beyond Derrynane, which will, together with Two Journeys Home and the two books to follow, comprise the Derrynane Saga.
The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland.
Top customer reviews
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Two Journeys Home tells the history of Irish people in the courts of Austria and France. The male lead in the book is in the Brigade in these two European countries. This was an aspect of history I found interesting. It is also an interesting storyline, because the books I’ve read who have Irish characters are either in Ireland or they have emigrated to America.
Eileen is the female lead in the book. She is a strong character. Her stature and voice is remarked in terms of masculinity: a husky voice and broad shoulders. This is also an additional feature that is different in regards to books I’ve read where the female characters may have a strong personality but their size is petite.
The point of view in Two Journeys Home is third person. This is my least favorite way to tell a story. The external narrator tells me what is going on in every setting and with all the characters. As a result, I had a difficult time becoming swept up in the story.
I feel one of the intimate scenes in the book is verbose: “…highly athletic erotic experience both possessed, the night exploded in a dizzying blend of ….” Page 136. Just a few words expressing the wonder of the night is significant.
Over-all, Two Journey’s Home is a readable story for historical fiction fans. For me, the point of view is not what I like, and this was the contributing factor in giving the story a good rating-3 star rating. (A 3 star rating on Amazon is okay. My 3 star ratings define good.)
Thank you to Kevin O'Connell for a complimentary copy.
The prose is captivating and vivid. The characters are bold, resilient, and willful. And the plot takes us from the 1760s through to the 1770s, from the dazzling courts of Austria to the green hills of Ireland where upheaval, acceptance, and familial strife weigh heavily on the heart and mind.
Two Journeys Home is a well written, sophisticated novel that certainly highlights O'Connell's outstanding research, incredible knowledge, and enormous passion for his family's history and genealogy.