Book Review: After Dad by Claire Shiells

Millie Malone, a spirited, thirty-something journalist returns home to Northern Ireland after a life-changing decision leaves her London life in ruins.

A family reunion soon unravels, opening old wounds and igniting new grievances regarding the murder of her father by the IRA decades earlier. Retreating to the family cottage in Donegal, Millie soon meets Finn McFall, a fisherman originally from west Belfast, who loves to paint and recite Irish poetry.

In the new modern Ireland, Millie believes religion is no longer a barrier for love. But she soon finds home is a place still struggling with a fragile peace and simmering sectarianism.

As events unfold, Millie is forced to decide between love and loyalty, eventually having to ask herself the ultimate question: can love really conquer all?

Review

After Dad was one of the surprise books of the year for me. I knew that I would like it before I even started; it was an easy read, guaranteed to be emotional, and I was due a good romance. It certainly delivered on all those things. Millie was a great character, in my opinion. I couldn’t help but like her and I loved the dynamic with her family.

However, After Dad was so much more than a romance story, or even one about grief. I was not expecting it to go so much into The Troubles. Its depiction of families affected by what was happening in Northern Ireland, even years after these events happened, was touching and emotional. It shows that even though things might have quieted down in Northern Ireland, it cannot be said that it is peaceful.

I loved how After Dad showed the effects of The Troubles on an ordinary family. I’ve mostly read books that were more politically charged and focused on Catholics. This was a refreshing perspective to read.

All in all, I loved this book and I would certainly recommend it. You can pick up a copy here.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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