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Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,016 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Here is an extraordinary novel about real-life Irish chieftain Grace O Malley. From Morgan Llywelyn, bestselling author of Lion of Ireland and the Irish Century novels, comes the story of a magnificent, sixteenth-century heroine whose spirit and passion are the spirit and passion of Ireland itself.

Grania (Gaelic for Grace) is no ordinary female. And she lives in extraordin
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published April 6th 1986 by Random House Value Publishing
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Debbie Zapata
Dec 01, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturday
I loved this historical fiction from Morgan Llywelyn, which tells the story of Gráinne Ní Mháille (Grace O'Malley), a legendary woman who lived in 16th century Ireland. She was born when Henry VIII was King Of England, and lived long enough to have a famous meeting with his daughter Queen Elizabeth when they were both 'of a certain age'.

Grania, as Llywelyn calls her, lived an unconventional life for a woman of her times. I liked her spirit, her confidence, her joy for life. She was a chieftain'
Sep 09, 2007 Keely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes historical fiction, especially set in 16th century Ireland
Morgan Llywelyn is an awesome historical fiction writer and has written books taking place in Ireland from the time of the Druids through present day. Grania, or Grace O'Malley, was a she-king and pirate in the mid 1500s. As cheiftan, she ruled the entire western coast of Ireland from Co. Donegal to the city of Cork. As an Irish ruler in the Elizabethan Era of England, she was a huge rival and in a sense colleage of Elizabeth the 1st. She was widely known for her intelligence, courage and indepe ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I must say, of the novels I have read about real female pirates, I am least impressed with this one. Having just completed the novel, I cannot decide if I find the heroine to be foolish and cocky, or brave and amazing. On one hand, she grabs life by the horns so to speak and shows the men of the times that women are worthy adversaries indeed. On the other hand, a lot of her decisions hurt other people. Waging wars and looting ships may have helped her select few, but what of others? This novel w ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Dhfan4life rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that I did not have very high expectations for this book when I first found it. Cause although I like historical fiction books, I've never been real big on pirate stories. And also cause I'd never really read a book published in my birth year(read it as part of a challenge for this year). But truly, other than a few hiccups in the author's flowery language at times, this story really blew my socks off. Grace O'Malley definitely was one hell of a chick in her heyday and I came out r ...more
Dawn (& Ron)
Does any one know if Leywelyn's Pirate Queen is a follow up to Grania or reissue of this title?
Jul 10, 2017 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone innately drawn to the story of Mary Queen of Scots, I fully enjoyed this Irish heroine's tale that mirrored the time during which Mary reigned. I know even less of Elizabeth, but learning more and more about strong women of history, while it was very much a man's world, is as insightful as Llywelyn's words were captivating. I was expecting this to be a sea-faring adventure and was surprised - but not disappointed - that most of the pirating and sailing descriptions were kept to a mini ...more
Jul 12, 2017 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a historical novel about an Irish piratewoman/chieftain. Subtitle: She-King of the Irish Seas. Bought at a church yard sale or something. And really quite entertaining!
Sarah Lawrence
I can't remember when I first heard about Grace O'Malley, but I first learned about her last year when my dad recommended I check out Grace, a new pub opening in New York's East Side. I took off to Wikipedia and a short but glorious flurry of research. Some time later, I saw this book at Free Book Day, picked it up, and realized I'd found a gem from my newest favorite imprint.

In case you can't tell, I'm totally biased. I love reading about golden age piracy, Elizabethan-Era history, strong wome
Christie Owens
Mar 11, 2015 Christie Owens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
How good was this book? Well, I was up at 4:30 am to finish it. Llewellyn gave me many inspiring quotes and insights on the Irish, Grania and a little of myself.

Black Hugh O'Donnell: "We were all raised to be kings; we are a race of chieftains and warriors, and not followers." "... but the sun will never rise on the day when I myself will grant an O Neill the right to be the only king in Ireland." Of which Grania thinks to herself that there is the trouble for the Irish.

This novel horribly expl
Mar 16, 2012 Brittany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I remembered really liking Llywelyn's Irish history novels, so this was a real disappointment. Though I'm sure Grania is a really interesting person, there was something about the writing that didn't make me CARE about her. When bad things happened to characters, I just thought 'Hm, okay then' and moved on. Grania's few sexual exploits proved interesting enough to actually read through, but I mostly skimmed this and actually found myself happier that it was OVER so I could move on to something e ...more
Lisa James
I have always loved this author's books. She ensnares you quickly into the plot, her characters are bright, bold, & heroic. Grania is no disappointment. Grace O'Malley is a legendary figure in Ireland, she may be a pirate, but she fights for her independence, & for that of her country & her people against England & Queen Elizabeth. Full of action & derring do, Grace also learns what it is to love as well as fight, & the story of her personal growth along with her people's ...more
I always enjoy Morgan Llywelyn's writing. Grania was an engaging and fascinating read. However, it didn't get my blood pumping in the same way as her other books always have. Perhaps it was the British and the inevitable fact of their intrusion into Ireland. Perhaps the setting was just too modern for my taste. Nevertheless, I believe Llywelyn did great justice to the story, and commend the book.
May 22, 2007 Letitia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horny Irish feminists
This was a disappointing epic about an incredibly interesting historical character. I realize that the balance of historical recitation with personal perspective is difficult to balance in historical fiction but if that's your genre...I believe you can do a much better job than Llewelyn managed. The most detailed and interesting parts of Grania's personal life was her sexual experiences, and while fascinating, hardly enough to carry a novel.
Storia romanzata ma in ogni caso affascinante. Due donne potenti a modo loro, una regina e una piratessa. Ho cercato questo libro per capire meglio la storia di un musical presentato poco tempo fa a Broadway, e devo dire che mi ha fatto un'ottima impressione. Leggerlo è stato molto piacevole, il personaggio ben costruito e distante, secondo me, dagli stereotipi. Mi ha fatto venire voglia di divorarlo per sapere il finale.
This is about an Irish woman in Elizabethan times who went against tradition to help her people. Reminded me of Philippa Gregory books. For the most part it was entertaining but it was slow at times and I found myself getting frustrated by some of Grania's actions (or inactions). And as with Gregory's books, the main character does a lot of similar thinking which is probably realistic but it's repetitive to read.
Cd Rodden
As a novel read for pure entertainment this was a difficult read. Once you get into the rhythm of the writing, it is better. Knowing th history and difficulties of the time, the story makes it easy to follow the struggle. Not sure how much of the story was drawn from factual information and how much was creatively put together. It was interesting. Not exactly a love story but not quite a purely adventurous tale.
Aug 26, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Fascinating story about a fascinating woman. I sought out a book about "Grace O'Malley" after reading a scene in Elizabeth I by Margaret George where the two female leaders met.

Llywelyn did a good job blending the legends and historical information into a good story that helped you understand possible motives, feelings and thoughts behind the events that happened, creating a fairly believable character.
As much as this book is about Grace O Malley, it's a book about a sea-faring way of life and a story of Irish and English political maneuvering during the 16th century. Grania is a fascinating historical figure (one of my ancestors, I might add) and while the writing tended to be melodramatic and racy for me, Llywelyn has painted a bright portrait of a remarkable and resourceful woman
Morgan Llywellyn once again brings to life a wonderful Irish heroine who can be at once admired! The characters just jump to life and hold your interest from page one! I would reccomend this book to anyone who wants to learn a bit of Irish history, wants to be swept away into a land of old traditions, honor and swashbuckling fun, or just wants a good read! Happy reading!
Jan 12, 2012 Pythia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca, uhm, mare, storia
La storia è intrigante, una piratessa del XVI secolo che sfida la regina Elisabetta. Purtroppo il romanzo non è all'altezza: salti di luogo e tempo senza spiegazione, descrizioni ridotte all'osso, giri di parole e intrecci che servono solo a prolungare la suspance - peccato che poi ci sia il nulla. Per fortuna l'ho preso in biblioteca.
Peggy Lo
i just saw the Pirate Queen on Broadway, and the musical is based on this book so i wanted to learn more about the characters and the sort-of history. As always I'll start with the historical fiction and then move to reality :p

The book was ok. I think her life was pretty complicated so the story is kind of disjointed. I like her spirit and determination, though
If Goodreads did half stars, I would probably give this a 3.5 - I don't think it's anything I would've picked up or even possibly finished were I not reading it for a class, but I did find myself invested in Grania's world and life.
Hester Stasse
Feb 19, 2014 Hester Stasse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
A riveting tale about a woman who challenged pretty much anything and anyone, including Elizabeth Tudor. Still, it felt as if I never really managed to get into her head; a certain distance did remain in place throughout.
The book was okay. I didn't hate it but I didn't totally love it. When you read the synopsis of the book you are lead to believe that there would be more to her relationship with Queen Elizabeth. I feel there was something missing from the story. Like I said however I did not hate the story.
Finished this on 10/27. It took me a really long time to read it - it's a very large book. Good, but Grania was kind of annoying at times. Also, I think Llywelyn overemphasized the relationship between Grania and Queen Elizabeth a bit. But overall a fun read.
Feb 07, 2013 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this ages ago. I'm also distantly related to Grace O'Malley, which was part of the appeal. :-) As I recall it was pretty good & interesting. It's about pirates, come on, what's not to love?
Sep 07, 2011 Cmoselle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the parallels in this story and enjoyed the overall character development and plot for the book. I thought at times, perhaps the secondary characters were not as developed as Grania herself, but the book wasn't about them so I didn't mind so much.
Maggie Kern
Apr 24, 2008 Maggie Kern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My dad gave me this book because it's about a very strong women in a time when men ruled Ireland (has anything changes?). Grania is captivating, inspiring and brilliant. It is historically extremely interesting, as well.
Feb 07, 2009 Elspeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A nice read... but I think I was still in the ML celtic mode, so I didn't pay much attention to it.
Jul 15, 2015 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book - it was a quick read, well written and I felt transported into the story.
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Morgan Llywelyn (born 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.
More about Morgan Llywelyn...

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“Let me tell you something about women, Tigernan,” Ruari offered, stretching his legs and holding up his empty ale bowl to attract the innkeeper’s attention. “I’ve given a bit of thought to them, having lived more years than you. Women are something a man requires, as necessary as air to breathe and ale to drink. I cannot boast of understanding them, mind you, but I suspect nature designed them for a specific purpose, and it would be a mistake to try to change them. “Women render men an invaluable service that may not at first be apparent. They are born to be responsible, to caretake. It is in them to probe their men as they would examine an old cloak, looking for holes that could let the wind through. Women understand survival better than we do, I think. They will nag and probe and provoke until they find a lowered defense, even the smallest hole, then they poke their fingers through and shout, ‘Aha!’ “In this way they force their men to keep their cloaks mended and their weapons in repair, and ultimately this helps them survive. With a woman treading on his heels a man must stay alert and in the proper frame of mind to go out and slay dragons. Never provoke a quarrel with a man who has just had his flaws pointed out to him by some woman.” 3 likes
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