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    immensely tragic and heartening

    Opening in April 1899, on Rathlin Island, off the coast of Ireland, the book begins with the birth of a child. The story then goes back in time to February 1898. Fionnula (Nuala) Bryne, was brought up by her grandparents, after her family moved to Canada. Nuala has a special ability to be able to see and hear voices that no-one else can. After the death of her grandparents, Ned (The Tailor) McQuaid, asks Nuala to be his wife. Not wanting to be left alone and poverty-stricken, Nuala accepts this offer from a man twice her age, and one she doesn’t know very well. Once married it turns out that there will be three people in her marriage, her, Ned and Ginny, Ned’s sister. Ginny has no intention of leaving her brother’s side, and doesn’t like, nor trust Nuala. A life alone may have left her poverty-stricken, but her marriage has left her full of sadness and regret. Will Nuala ever find happiness in a place where everyone knows everyone else’s business? I found The Watch House quite a hard read, in that I had to read it slowly. I needed every little piece of information to be absorbed thoroughly, or I would lose track and have to go back over previous pages again. The story is heartbreaking and poignant, yet fully captivating. The information regarding Marconi’s Men, and the work they did was all based on true facts about Marconi using the small island off the coast of Ireland to test his wireless link between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle. The book has a wonderful cast of characters, from those that you will have pure empathy for, to those who seem like they are filled with evil. I was full absorbed by the writing, and the immense research that McGill has put into her work to make this a book that you want to take your time with. This is not a novel to rush, but one to savour. It’s books like this one, that bring to the forefront what the past generations were like, and how hard they had it. This is an extraordinary story, both immensely tragic and heartening at the same time.
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