Official Review: Only with Blood by Therese Down

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kandscreeley
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Official Review: Only with Blood by Therese Down

Post by kandscreeley » 09 Dec 2019, 12:05

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Only with Blood" by Therese Down.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Caitlin Spillane has grand plans for her life; she wants to go to university, which is almost unheard of for a woman. Her father, however, has other plans for her. He's working on an arranged marriage. Jack Flynn is the intended, a man more Caitlin's father's age than her own. A hard-working dairy farmer, Jack has his own secrets. Donal Kelly, the son of a nearby farmer, has an accidental encounter with Caitlin. From that point on, he can't get her out of his mind. His father needs him at home, he has no interest in farming life, and his political views might be dangerous. All have different dreams, but not all dreams come true. How will they manage when life brings troubles as it's wont to do?

Only with Blood: A Novel of Ireland by Therese Down is what I would consider literary fiction or historical fiction. There are some romantic elements, but this is not a romance. There are no explicit scenes, but I would still recommend the book to high school age and older.

The book is set in Ireland in the 1940s. It's clear that World War II is ongoing; but, while Ireland struggles to remain neutral, there's almost a civil war happening. Historical events used throughout the book make it more realistic as well as educational. I know more now about Irish history than I did before reading this. Having said that, not being very familiar with this part of the world before going into the book might have been somewhat of a detriment. I was occasionally confused about happenings or political parties. This did not, though, change my enjoyment of the plot. Still, Ms. Down may want to improve on the explanations of these events.

In contrast, the characters need no work. Their realism engaged me from the start. I had to know where Caitlin's academic ambitions would lead. Would Donal escape his familial duty? I was equally rooting for the characters and screaming at them for their selfishness. They were conflicted, as most of us tend to be. It made them relatable and extremely enjoyable.

Being set in Ireland, there were words that were difficult to comprehend. Some were explained contextually but not all. For example, I don't know, still, what Tir-na-nÓg is. A glossary would be helpful. Other than these foreign terms, the vocabulary is on a more advanced level, using words like lugubrious and saturnine. I thought this elevated the story, but not everyone will appreciate it.

Finding no errors, I must state that the book was extremely well-edited. Since the characters speak in dialect, there is incorrect grammar, but this is an intentional device by the author to immerse the reader in the book.

I was thrilled to read Only with Blood: A Novel of Ireland and rate it 4 out of 4 stars. There were only minor hiccups where I would suggest the author make a few changes. None of these were enough to subtract a star, though. Without spoiling anything, it's worth mentioning that the ending was unexpected in a delightful way. I would suggest this story for all who enjoy a little history, a dash of romance, and outstanding characterization. Conversely, it could be a bit hard to understand for those without a good grasp of the English language.

******
Only with Blood
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Post by Miller56 » 12 Dec 2019, 16:12

Thanks for the review. I like reading books with good historical context and learning about some of the Irish history would be awesome. I will have to read this one.
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Post by AvidBibliophile » 12 Dec 2019, 19:29

1940s Ireland with an unexpectedly delightful ending?! I do love a rousing bit of historical fiction, and while some of the dialects, political mentions, and Irish terminology might challenge my comprehension, I would also appreciate seeing the inclusion of advanced terminology in the beautiful gloominess of examples like lugubrious and saturnine.

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Dec 2019, 20:14

Miller56 wrote:
12 Dec 2019, 16:12
Thanks for the review. I like reading books with good historical context and learning about some of the Irish history would be awesome. I will have to read this one.
I think you'd like this one, then! I hope you find time to enjoy it.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Dec 2019, 20:16

AvidBibliophile wrote:
12 Dec 2019, 19:29
1940s Ireland with an unexpectedly delightful ending?! I do love a rousing bit of historical fiction, and while some of the dialects, political mentions, and Irish terminology might challenge my comprehension, I would also appreciate seeing the inclusion of advanced terminology in the beautiful gloominess of examples like lugubrious and saturnine.
It was quite well done. I appreciated the rich vocabulary and the author's way with words. Thanks!
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Post by Wyland » 13 Dec 2019, 02:13

This reads like an interesting book presented as historical fiction. It's sad women were discriminated at and viewed more as objects. But its nice it may seem Caitlin might have recieved an education eventually after all. Thanks for the nice review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 13 Dec 2019, 18:59

Wyland wrote:
13 Dec 2019, 02:13
This reads like an interesting book presented as historical fiction. It's sad women were discriminated at and viewed more as objects. But its nice it may seem Caitlin might have recieved an education eventually after all. Thanks for the nice review.
Yes, women have come a long way since then. It's interesting to see what it was like back than. Thanks!
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Post by B Creech » 13 Dec 2019, 21:47

Thanks for such a great review. My ancestry is Scotch-Irish so I am always interested in anything relating to the Irish. Based on your review this sounds like a book I would be interested in so I may just have to check this one out! Thanks for the recommendation! :lire4:
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Post by kdstrack » 13 Dec 2019, 22:03

I am intrigued by the title and how it fits in with the history of Ireland. Caitlin's dilemma with her two suitors adds an interesting twist to the story. The advanced vocabulary would be enriching, but the untranslated words are irritating! I enjoyed your insights and honest analysis. Great review! Thanks.

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Post by Phyllis Anne » 14 Dec 2019, 15:44

When you mentioned there being a dash of romance, I almost wrote this book off as I am not the biggest fan of romance. However, as you continued to talk about the various twists, questions to be answered, sophisticated language and most of all the Irish history and culture, I became significantly more curious. I personally love full immersion books that include authentic language. I find that it adds another layer to the cultural understanding for the audience. I almost feel like I want to read this book just for that aspect. Thank you for the review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 14 Dec 2019, 18:42

B Creech wrote:
13 Dec 2019, 21:47
Thanks for such a great review. My ancestry is Scotch-Irish so I am always interested in anything relating to the Irish. Based on your review this sounds like a book I would be interested in so I may just have to check this one out! Thanks for the recommendation! :lire4:
It does sound like this would be perfect for you! You could even learn a little more about Irish history. Hope you find time to read it!
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
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Post by kandscreeley » 14 Dec 2019, 18:43

kdstrack wrote:
13 Dec 2019, 22:03
I am intrigued by the title and how it fits in with the history of Ireland. Caitlin's dilemma with her two suitors adds an interesting twist to the story. The advanced vocabulary would be enriching, but the untranslated words are irritating! I enjoyed your insights and honest analysis. Great review! Thanks.
You summed it up just about perfectly. I always appreciate your insightful comments. Thanks!
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-Louisa May Alcott

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Post by MustaHarleen » 16 Dec 2019, 04:55

I would love to literally sample the Irish culture. This book sounds like a good starting point, thanks to your awesome review. Congratulations.

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Post by kandscreeley » 16 Dec 2019, 20:23

MustaHarleen wrote:
16 Dec 2019, 04:55
I would love to literally sample the Irish culture. This book sounds like a good starting point, thanks to your awesome review. Congratulations.
I do enjoy the Irish culture. This is a fun book, a good sampling of the culture. Thanks.
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