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Pierre Lemaitre
The Glass Room
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Star of the Sea

Star of the Sea - Joseph O'Connor Every now and then a book comes along that I feel passionate about and Joseph O Connor's Star of the Sea is one of those books that tells the harrowing and tragic story of the Irish Potato famine of 1840's Ireland and the voyage of the coffin Ship Star of The Sea to America.

I had read this book in 2011 and came across a hard back edition in a second hand book shop and just had to read this wonderful book again, I don't like re-reading books that I have loved as I always fear that I wont have the same experience second time around. But I found this book even better on the second read and perhaps came away getting more from the story.

The story is beautifully layered and dense read, a mystery novel and a well crafted historical thriller, On board the ship hundreds of fleeing refugees and among them a maidservant with a devastating secret, bankrupt Lord Merridith and his family, and aspiring novelist a maker of revolutionary ballads, all braving the Atlantic in search of a new home. There are likable and dislikable characters and never a dull moment. All this took place in 1840s Ireland that decade in which a million of the Irish underclass died as a consequence of famine.

This is such a realistic novel and depicts the Irish famine so well, the story is told in a series of flashbacks, letters, log entries and reminiscences. It is not a depressing novel and there is plenty of humour. The characters are extremely well drawn and the book has a wonderful sense of time and place. O Connor is a talented writer and this is historical fiction at its best.

Highly recommended for lovers of mystery novels with quality history fiction as the backdrop.