Beyond Derrynane

Beyond Derrynane: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (The Derrynane Saga) (Volume 1) - Kevin J. O'Connell

Beyond Derrynane is one of those historical fiction stories that you hate to put down. A novel written about a family as large as the O'Connell's is an especially interesting read as it is somewhat based on fact. Mr. O'Connell definitely has the Irish trait of being able to tell an interesting story.

As often happened in era's past, the daughters of the family were in arranged marriages as was Eileen. In this case, it was not arranged by her father but by her eldest brother Denis as their father was deceased. Denis only did it to increase the families coffers. His reasoning was that the family was cash poor as they often traded in goods rather than money, but Denis was a mean spirited man and hated his sister.

Eileen did as she was bid and went off to live in the home of a man quite a bit older than she was. Mr. O'Connor was abusive and beat her within an inch of her life but Eileen was able to rise above this and tried to make a life for herself as the mistress of the house and even after awhile came to care about her husband.
Mr.O'Connor dies suddenly and Eileen returns home to Derrynane.

Eileen's mother contacts General Moritz O'Connell of the Imperial Austrian Army who is Eileen's uncle and along with her sister, Abigail, enter the court of Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna and the court quickly becomes home to both. Abigail is close to the Empress while Eileen becomes governess to the Empress two daughters. After awhile they both come to love the Empress and create a happy life for them both.

I really enjoyed this story, as I love any books written about Ireland and its people. The characters were easy to relate to and love. I look forward to reading the next in the series in the continuing life of the O'Connells! If you love and enjoy historical fiction, then this book is not to be missed.