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Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.

Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Post Number:#1 by sdeerfield82
» 14 Apr 2017, 08:12

[Following is an official review of "Aine" by Tricia Murphy.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by sdeerfield82
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Aine is a work of historical fiction by Tricia Murphy. Intrigued by a single line in an 1881 census; Murphy was inspired to create a story about immigrants fleeing Ireland during the potato famine. Thus, she brings to life the Fitzgerald family. Readers will quickly find themselves endeared to the Fitzgeralds as they try to live on cobbled English streets instead of the green Irish countryside and work in cramped, crowded mills instead of turning the earth in wide open fields. Having escaped nearly certain financial ruin and possible starvation, the Fitzgeralds learn that life and work in the town of Oldham bring a unique set of challenges and the family’s struggles are not behind them.

It is a simple story that is at equal turns heartbreaking and hopeful. Aine will appeal to audiences of historical fiction, love stories, and those who enjoy reading about family and home. Ms. Murphy somehow manages to paint a colorful story of a bleak time in a gray landscape. For fans of historical fiction especially, Ms. Murphy’s writing will really strike a chord. She expertly places the reader into the scene that she has envisioned and makes them feel at home there.

While I enjoyed the writing for the writing’s sake, the plot did not have me flipping the pages as quickly as I would have hoped. Ms. Murphy turns a beautiful phrase and has created characters that are easy to like (and in some cases, hate) but I often felt that her subplots were undeveloped and even a little rushed. It almost seemed as though situations in the book were resolved as soon as they were introduced and it rarely left me in anticipation of what was going to happen next. From a reader’s perspective, it is that anticipation that makes me want to keep reading long after bedtime has come and gone.

I was also a bit perplexed, throughout most of the book, about why the author chose Aine for the title. It does become quite obvious in the end as she links the finale back to the beginning of the book and unequivocally confirms a suspicion I had about one character’s motives. At the same time, this seemed more of a side story than the overarching theme and I was surprised that she chose to highlight it in such a way.

I give Aine 3 out of 4 stars. There are a few typographical errors but not enough to cause a distraction. The author even addresses, in her acknowledgments, that there are some unintended line breaks due to the conversion of the text. Overall, I found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable even if it didn’t blow me away. In fact, it kind of reminds me of one of the books central characters, Jeremiah – strong and steady but with very few frills. I can imagine giving Aine 4 stars if some of the subplots had been fleshed out a bit more.

Update: After this book was submitted for review, the book was updated. The author stated that most of the reviewer's comments have been addressed in the revised version of Aine.
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Re: Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 17 Apr 2017, 09:47

It sounds like a good book. I find it interesting that the author wrote a whole book off of a single line in a census! I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction but you made this sound like a book that will tug at your heart strings. It's unfortunate that the plot is kind of underdeveloped and rushed.

Great Review! 🐻
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Re: Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Post Number:#3 by Shreyoshi Sen
» 17 Apr 2017, 13:41

Sounds good. Maybe I can give this a try.
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Re: Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Post Number:#4 by Chrys Brobbey
» 17 Apr 2017, 18:10

It is news to me that there was a potato famine in Ireland sometime in 1881. There are many historical events that we do not know about, so authors using them as themes in their writing bring awareness to them. I'll research on the Ireland issue for the bigger picture. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Post Number:#5 by Lest92
» 21 Apr 2017, 10:01

Thank you for a thorough review:) This is a book I might enjoy despite it not being frilly - the Potato Famine is something I think is often glossed over in history class (or at least it was in mine).
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Re: Official Review: Aine by Tricia Murphy

Post Number:#6 by kandscreeley
» 21 Apr 2017, 13:21

I don't read a lot of historical fiction. It has to be something that really captures me to want to read it. It sounds like this would not be the novel for me. Thanks for the review though.
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