Lydia Presley's Reviews > The Linen Queen

The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey
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's review
Jun 28, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, fiction, historic-fiction, ireland
Read from June 27 to 28, 2011

It feels kind of strange, but this book reminded me quite a bit of two classics - Emma by Jane Austen and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. So what do all these books have in common, you might ask? Well... I don't know about you, but Emma, Scarlett and Sheila are not very easy characters to like ... at first.

In The Linen Queen, Sheila struggles with some pretty hard knocks. Her dad is gone, her mom is crazy, her aunt super pious and her uncle a pervert. She works hard, yet sees no real benefit to all the work and she really, really wants to leave Ireland.

But Sheila is living and working toward leaving Ireland in 1941, and war is on the horizon. And, much like Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, war has a way of bringing out the grit in a pretty girl - and so it was with Sheila.

I really, really enjoyed The Linen Queen. I found Sheila to be petty and self-centered, but as I read, as I really thought about the choices she was making and watched her growth I came to love her and wish her well.

In addition to getting to know Sheila, I also got to know a part of WWII geography I really hadn't been familiar with. Belfast and the northern part of Ireland was involved in the war at a time the southern area was not. I think Patricia Falway did a fantastic job of capturing the tension not only between the two factions of the Irish people, but also by adding the "Yanks" into the mix, and even a Jewish one at that.

For WWII novel fans, this book is a must read. Just.. be patient, give Sheila a little time and remember, all those that are young need time to grow.
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