“Gripping from the first page. The period setting, the characters are so real, they live with you. I found I missed them after I’d closed the last page. A fantastic read.”
Siobhan McKenna, best-selling author
Diarmuid Hudner’s second novel is both a tragic and inspirational story, illuminating the unrelenting spirit of a family, desperately trying to stay together, against the authorities will to remove their youngest child. The novel is set at the end of the 18th century, in the small village of Millvale, a rural community, unsure of its place in a rapidly changing world. It depicts the struggle of the Blackman family, farming people, whose whole way of life is irreversibly altered when young Rebecca Blackman, the eldest of two teenage daughters, dies giving birth to William, an illegitimate deformed child. Rather than allowing him to be taken away and institutionalised, the family go to extreme lengths to conceal him from the authorities. A game of cat and mouse ensues, where out of necessity and misfortune, more people find out about the boy’s existence, and are drawn into the conspiracy to hide him, risking their own livelihoods in the process, but in so doing, learning in kind from the family’s courage and morality.