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  • What a wild ride!

    Rating: 4.5 Stars The Rhys women were cursed, and upon their 17th birthday, all the bad apples fell from the family tree. “You’d know them a mile away. The ones who don’t look like the others, don’t act like the others. The ones who don’t conform, don’t follow the rules . . .The ones who dress differently, love differently, think differently.” However, Mandy was determine to break the curse, and while tracing the family's history, she disappeared. They had a funeral, but Deena didn't believe her sister was dead, and when a letter, written in Mandy's hand arrived, Deena was determined to find her and bring her home. This book was part mystery, part history, part family drama, and part coming of age. Fowley-Doyle had characters, who were struggling with their identities, while she also explored the dynamics at play in a very complicated family and the many factors that contributed to it. The star of this tale, though, was the Rhys family history, which included some of the most brutal injustices brought against women and children of Ireland. Through fictional accounts, I learned about the oppression and abuse these women faced. The author approached all topics unflinchingly, from the murder of the lesbian lovers and the imprisonment of young unwed mothers in Magdalene Laundries to the abortion ban, which was only repealed last year. My heart ached for the Rhys women, but all of this was even more powerful and haunting, because I knew it was based on reality. The delivery of the family history packed an even bigger punch, because Fowley-Doyle created an atmosphere with touches of magic, that just amplified the mood. She also did a great job of keeping me unbalanced, and I surprisingly enjoyed it. It all added to the tension that was building as Deena and her friends raced to "the end of the world" to find Mandy and get to the heart of this mystery. It was a wild ride, which was horrifying at times, but ultimately gave way to some hope for the future by educating us about the past.

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