Green Giants is my feature where I share some of my favourite books by Irish Authors. I’m passionate about Irish Authors, they supply us with a great and exciting mix of books, hopefully you will find something new to try. Today it’s Jo Spain who is my latest Green Giant and who with a single book has become a must read author for me.
With Our Blessing is gristly and disturbing. It tackles the mistreatment of the single mothers that occurred back in the 1970s (and earlier) in Ireland at religious institutions. And cleverly links it in with a current murder investigation.With Our Blessing by Jo Spain
Published by Quercus Books on July 27th 2015
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, Psychological, Thrillers
Source: Received from Author
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It's true what they say . . . revenge is sweet.
1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.
2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.
Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He's convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.
Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past.
First Line of With Our Blessing by Jo Spain:
“Her whole body shook as the adrenalin coursed through it.”
My thoughts on With Our Blessing by Jo Spain:
When I think about the shameful history of the places like The Magdalene Laundries (where single mothers were sent), it seems so hard to believe that they really happened. And not back hundreds of years ago but within living memory. The incarceration of the women is depicted realistically with all its cruelty and injustices and would break the bitterest of hearts.
The book kicks off with a murder in contemporary Dublin and it’s a shocking murder that is out to make a statement. To offset the dark plotline that the investigation takes, we have a more light-hearted feel from the detectives working on the case. The balance between the serious investigation, the horrible treatment of the women in the past, the more jovial banter of the detectives and the glimpse at modern day life in Ireland all worked really well.
This is one of those books that you won’t forget in a hurry after reading. It made me so angry while I read it. The way other people looked the other way felt as disgusting to me as the people who inflicted the abuse. The book makes an attempt to explain how and why this happened and it also showed the regrets that many have to live with.
I really appreciated that as well as delving into the horrors of the past, it also showed how times have moved on. Obviously the past can never be forgotten or even forgiven but it’s good to see that this book also showed some articulate nuns with a good grasp of the modern world and contempt for the past. As well as not white washing the horrors of the Laundries and the mistreatment of the women who were forced to live there.
I enjoyed the investigation and it kept me guessing right till the very end. I did get a bit frustrated at one stage when I felt the police were overlooking a very obvious group of suspects. But they eventually caught up with me! That said, I still didn’t guess right.
I’m hoping this book turns into a series as the detectives are likeable and well-rounded characters. They added humour and I got invested in their own personal life stories too.
Overall this is an excellent début novel. And now I can’t wait for more from Jo Spain, she is one to watch.
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read With Our Blessing by Jo Spain?
I’d recommend this to fans of psychological thrillers with gripping plots, or if you like Irish settings and to those who like to be kept guessing. Fans of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Can Anybody Help Me by Sinead Crowley should also enjoy.
Thank to Quercus Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.