Thursday, 12 May 2016

Review: Pack Up Your Troubles by Anne Bennett

Pack Up Your Troubles
The latest heartrending tale of hope and heartache from bestselling author Anne Bennett. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Annie Groves.
Maeve Brannigan is only eighteen when she leaves her rural home in County Donegal and moves to Birmingham, where she falls in love with handsome Brendan Hogan. But married life isn’t as idyllic as she’d imagined, and when Maeve falls pregnant with their first child, she soon realises that Brendan isn’t the man she thought he was.
Saddled with a violent husband and with two young’uns needing her protection, Maeve bears her life as best she can. After a particularly vicious attack, she is forced to flee back to Ireland – but her presence is greeted with open hostility by the close-knit catholic community that she was once so eager to escape. Driven away to face her abusive husband, Maeve’s future looks bleak. Will she find the strength to break free and make the prospect of a better life a reality rather than a distant dream?

Clare's Review 5 of 5 Stars

This book follows the life journey of Maeve Brannigan, a sweet 18 year old girl who wants to explore and moves from her quiet home in Ireland to the hustle and bustle of inner city Birmingham. What follows is far from the idyllic and exciting life she has envisaged.

This story was possibly one of the most harrowing accounts of spousal abuse I have ever come across and was a heartbreaking account of the harsh reality of what life was like for a housewife and mother in the early 1900's. Brendan appears to be a wonderful man, loving and considerate although quite early on I felt like there was another side to him, I don't think he even realised it was there until later on in the story. Brendan is Irish and it seems like he does love Maeve in the beginning, until the harsh realities of life hit home. Brendan's character is wonderfully written, I felt like I could almost see into his mind and see the villain and monster that he truly is.

Maeve's character is also beautifully portrayed and the story really captures her soul as she lives a miserable and abused existence trying to care for herself and also trying to protect her children. This story really touches on a sensitive and rarely addressed issue - domestic violence, and the stigma that follows it. It also portrays the Catholic Church in a less than favourable light, but the truth is that this was simply the way it happened many years ago. Domestic abuse was ignored and very commonplace, women were expected to just get on with it and to honour their husbands regardless of the treatment they suffered.

This story provides insight into the lives of women in the pre WW2 era, and is done so in a descriptive and often brutal manner. There were moments when I almost felt I couldn't continue but the story is so well written that I couldn't wait to see what would happen throughout out the years and I was relieved at the end! This story really gets down into the nitty gritty of ignored situations and bring s then into a whole new light, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a deep and meaningful read written with honesty and integrity.

No comments:

Post a Comment