We received Brian Cregan’s novel from The History Press Ireland as a bonus for a book that we’ve requested from this publishing, so I want to start this article by thanking them for giving me the chance to read this amazing book that if not for this opportunity I would have probably never read.
The volume is about the iconic Irish figure Charles Parnell. I must admit that when I started to read it, I had no idea who Parnell was and how Ireland commenced its fight for independence. Also, because of this, I didn’t connect with the subject right from the beginning, but because of the author’s wondrous writing style after the 50 pages, I couldn’t let go of the book.
The story is narrated by a fictional character, named James Harrison, who starts working as Mr Parnell’s secretary just before March 1874, when the future leader of Ireland, then at only 26 years old, speaks in public for the first time, humiliating himself due to the emotions. Since this moment the author takes you to the next 16 years of the epochal events for Ireland all the way through Parnell’s stupid decay created by the rules of conducts at the time he lived and finally his death.
At the end of the book, there is a page about Brian Cregan. After finish reading it, I found out that he is a barrister and this made an enormous sense to me because the parts I enjoyed the most were the parts describing the trials in which the main character was involved. I felt like being in the court listening to the claims and contests of the prosecution and the lawyers involved. The only thing I regret about the book is that, because it is written through James Harrison’s eyes, the romantic part of Parnell’s life was poorly treated.
The book is not an easy lecture, but I recommend it to be read by anyone because it is more than a history lesson. It is a book that it will stick to your heart and mind for a long time.
P.S. It is funny that I had the chance to read this book in the times that we live in. In the time of Brexit and Catalonia’s dream of independence. I don’t agree with any of them because I think that the unity we had since World War II is the only thing that kept Europe in peace. However, if the leaders from both countries are willing to sacrifice their lives at least 10% as Charles Parnell did, then at least they deserve my respect, but I really doubt they do.