Review: The Yellow House

Manic Mommies Book Club Selection (April 2010)

I love reading about Ireland and historical fiction is one of my favorite genres so one can only conclude that I was excited to read this book.  Have you read it yet?  It's filled with one life turning event after another... hard to put down!

Patricia Falvey came to America at the age of twenty, with $200. She landed in New York and made her way via Greyhound bus to Omaha, Nebraska.

Synopsis:  THE YELLOW HOUSE delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life. She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore.

Type: Historical Fiction, pages, Hardcover

Quick Take: Recommend - We will be discussing this book with Patricia Falvey this Wednesday and I can't wait.  Eileen is one of the strongest women I have read, ever.  Life throws just about every challenge her way and she finds a way to persevere.   The Publisher's Weekly review below sum up my reading experience.

I have a list of questions for our discussion - this novel is steeped with so much history that I can't imagine how much time was spent researching this book.  Thank you Patricia for a wonderful story!

More Reviews:

Source: Review copy

To listen to our discussion, click on the green arrow below. The call is about 45 minutes - spoiler alert... we did talk about the book, in detail.  If you would like to download the call, please visit the MMBC page.

Author Q&A:

Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Northern Ireland and lived in England before emigrating to the U.S. at age 20. I pursued a career in the finance area for many years, but finally was able to make the leap to my first love - writing. Becoming a writer is the realization of a dream.

Do you write daily? When I was writing The Yellow House I was also working full time and travelling a great deal for business. So I was not able to write every day but took chunks of time when I could on weekends and holidays. Now that I'm working on a deadline for a second book I find more and more that a daily writing routine is the only way to finish a novel within a set timeframe.

What was it like getting your first novel published? I met my agent through pure serendipity. I was on a business trip to New York and a friend cancelled a dinner engagement. Alone in the hotel restaurant I met a woman who runs a fitness studio in NYC and she invited me to join her and some of her clients on a wellness week in Jamaica. Something told me to grab the thread and so I took a chance and went. Lo and behold, two of the women there were literary agents, and I told one of them about a book I was planning. The rest is history. Although, I have to say that when I got the phone call that we had a two book contract I couldn’t think of anything to say for about a day.

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? At first I didn't like the idea of them. But since then I have spoken to a lot of people - mostly on airplanes - and they all say if the story is good you get caught up just as if you are reading a book. And I think people buy more books because its so easy to download them. In the end if it means more people read my book then I'm happy.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? First of all write about something that is really important to you – that fires your passion. Writing a novel is a major undertaking of time and emotional energy - so it should be about something you care deeply about. Second of all - it's true what they say about revising - a book is not so much written, as re-written, so be prepared.

What are you reading now? Colm McCann's Let The Great World Spin; Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout; and two memoirs: Nothing was the Same by Kay Jamison, and Just Kids by Patty Smith.

Just for fun:
- Favorite Season: Definitely Fall - which is what I miss most since I'm living in Dallas
- Morning or night: I think mornings are fantastic - full of promise - but unfortunately I miss most early mornings because I'm a "night person".
- Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip.
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: Australia and Japan. But I would be delighted to travel almost anywhere in the world.

Source: Review copy