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Ronan's Echo

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  48 reviews
"As this title is now out of print, to purchase a signed copy of Ronan's Echo, please contact the author at"

In 1916 twin brothers Denny and Connor Ronan are eager to get to the war before it’s all over; Bridie O’Malley, their childhood friend and the woman they both love, watches them leave, understanding too late that war is about more than heroes and h
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Macmillan Australia
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Birdie O'Malley's mother died giving birth to her and from that day onwards her brothers Donal, Rory and Aidan became very protective of their baby sister. Three years after their mother had died their father Eamonn believed there was no future for his children in Ireland so they packed up and moved to Australia. They found a house in Sydney in the suburban area of Manly naming the house Connemara after their old house.

Having just been in their new house a short while Birdie meets and becomes f
Bridie O’Malley was a beautiful young woman with deep rich flowing red hair; even as a child she was stunning. Her three brothers doted on her; as well her father Eamonn – their life was happy and peaceful in their home, “Connemara” in the Sydney suburb of Manly. They had left their Irish home behind in 1906 when Bridie was only eight years old and headed to Australia to make a new life.

At age fourteen, Bridie’s best friends were identical twins Denny and Connor Ronan – she enjoyed their company
Elizabeth (Alaska)
First, a disclaimer. Joanne van Os is my friend. We met first here on Goodreads, but I had the chance to see and chat with her when she traveled through southeast Alaska in the Summer of 2011. I would like to add, however, that I don't think knowing her colors my rating of this book. It may not be destined to become a classic, as some of my other 5-star reads are, but Ronan's Echo gives us an opportunity to understand how the effects of war radiate beyond its participants.

When the book arrived i
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Writers and film makers are increasingly fascinated by the two world wars, but few concentrate on the survivors who return and try to fit in after the horrific experiences they endured. Joanne Van Os' sweeping page-turning romance based on World War 1 is particularly interesting as it refers to the discovery and identification of hundreds of Australian soldiers who lost there lives at Fromelles in Northern France.

Fromelles was a decoy battle that seen 5533 Australian casulties, is the first enga
I have heard many positive remarks about this book and it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the current-day stories of Kat, the forensic anthropologist who unearths (sometimes literally) the stories behind how and why people died, and her mother, Fiona, who is cool, unemotional and undemonstrative, and her aunt, Hattie, who they live with. Going back another generation, we see Hattie’s mother, father and uncle - the young Bridie and twins, Denny and Connor, as they vie for Bridie’s affections before ...more
Jülie ☼♄ 
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Jülie ☼♄  by: Brenda
Thanks to Brenda for recommending this one to me!

This is one I'd like to see made into a movie.
What a wonderfully intricate, well thought out and credible family history, carefully interwoven with all the personality quirks of its many troubled characters.

The story takes us smoothly between the war in 1916, specifically in France...and every young mans' desire to 2010 Australia.
It describes the circumstances of the characters involved, telling of the influences of those times on the
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In 1906, after Bridie O’Malley’s mother has died her father takes her and her two older brothers to settle in Australia. She quickly makes friends with the identical twin brothers who lived next door, Denny and Connor Ronan, and by the time she is in her teens everyone is wondering which brother will be the one she marries. However, before a wedding can take place her brothers, along with Denny and Connor, march off to the Great War in Europe, all of them eager to get there before the action is ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Joanne van Os is a great story teller. This novel spans over a hundred years and four generations starting with the emigration of Eamonn O'Malley, his three handsome sons and his beautiful little daughter Bridie from Ireland to Manly in Sydney.
Eamonn, owner of a drapery business in Ireland, sets up shop in Manly and with his sons to help is soon able to buy a big house and property overlooking the sea and open two other shops. The start of 1914 finds the family very prosperous, with Bridie now f
Graham Wilson
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another deeply moving and beautifully told story by Joanne
The background detail is convincing and and the overall story is well told but the strongest feature is the power of the narrative, which takes you inside the lives of the characters and draws you ever on.
It is a story of unavoidable tragedies in generations past and how their consequences, beginning in World War 1, flow on down through succeeding lives damaging many people who had no part in original events, but are still pawns to how t
Dillwynia Peter
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
On Goodreads the majority of reviewers give this book a big 5 stars. I suspect the books I would give 5 stars would bore them to hell & they would give them a 1. This reflects personal taste more than anything. I'm actually giving it a 4.75, but my 4 stars tend to reflect how I really like a book & the merits I see in it.

van Os made a series of historical, cultural errors that I found irritating & thus those knocked off points. To be honest, unless you know Sydney at the turn of the century, you
Jenn J McLeod
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Joanne van Os has plotted the most extraordinary story with her novel – Ronan's Echo. A story spanning generations, beginning around the First World War, this novel is more than fiction, with a detailed account of the events surrounding the discovery and identification of soldiers who fought and died in the battle of Fromelles. It is a family drama, a story of love and the hardships suffered post war.
As a writer myself, I am in awe of the author bringing such complexity of plot and character to
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars. While I daresay writing a book that spans 90 odd years is very difficult, I think it tried too hard and did too much. I enjoyed the build up of the stories, since there were two different time-lines at play, and I was shocked at when they came together in the climax. I found it hard to read, just due to some of the shocking content, and the final plot twist during the resolution left me a little gob-smacked. I would have preferred to have seen a little more of a resolution.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: van-os-joanne
A wonderful read by Joanne van Os. Only one-third through this fascinating story of forensic anthropologist Kat Kelso as she prepares to travel back in time to the battle of Fromelles and the bodies of Australian soldiers lost there. One of them her ancestor Connor Ronan. Backwards and forwards from the late part of 1800s, to the early 1900s and to modern day (well, 2009 actually). I love a mystery particularly if that mystery is about family which this one is. A sleeper for me as I have had the ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was very well constructed with a good balance between present day Sydney and the scenes set in World War 1. I guess I enjoyed the current day forensic stuff the most because that's one of my favourite genres but I do like historical fiction too so this was a book designed for me! And it was set in Sydney which is always a bonus. The story was excellent, the characters well described and interesting and the writing was good. Definitely a book to recommend to others. ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was highly recommended to me by friends here on Goodreads and I bought it ages ago and it has been in TBR since then. Not sure why I kept bypassing it for others, as I really enjoyed this book set between present day Sydney and World War 1. I really liked the characters and the switching around between the different time periods. It’s an easy read that does not disappoint as Kat, a forensic anthropologist discovers some family secrets. A well thought out, moving story and readers who ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book ever it’s me samarveer
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

In 1916, twin brothers Denny and Connor Ronan are eager to prove themselves in the theatre of war, and at eighteen find themselves in the front line trenches in Fromelles, France, having left behind the flame haired beauty Bridie O'Malley, they both love. Sadly, only one survives the horrors of war and returns home to the arms of his beloved, but he is not the same man who left.
Nearly a century later, forensic anthropologist Catriona Kelso's curiosity is roused when she learns her next assignmen
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Enjoyed this story and its secrets. Liked the characters and their occupations. A look into the realties of war and its casualties. A peak into a diffetent time. Would recommend.
Shanice Rebeiro
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
(I was one of five lucky winners to win this book in the giveaway and so I would like to give a big thank you to Joanne for allowing me to read such an amazing story)

(This review will have spoilers so please do not read if you haven't read it yet. This is also my first review so it might be a little short)

First of all I would like to say what drew me to entering the giveaway.
The front cover was the first thing i noticed. The woman on there looked like she could be from the Downton Abbey era beca
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, I should say that I got this as a First Reads Book from Good
Reads. I thought I might enjoy it since my favourite genre is historical fiction. That was an understatement.

Wow. I loved this book. 5 stars.

Australia is such a young country, people sometimes forget what a rich history it has. This book reminds us of that, and the importance of family bond.

I could not recommend this book highly enough.
MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under
Bridie O'Malley is 8 years old when her father, Eamonn, decides that there is no future in Ireland for him and his children. With unemployment rates at an all-time high and farmers struggling with their latest failures, he sells his drapery business and departs with his four children to seek a new life in Australia.

Her mother having died at her birth, Bridie has been been brought up by her adoring father and three brothers. Two years after arriving in Australia, Eamonn's business is a thriving s
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I absolutely recommend this one it has kept me interested from start to finish. Easy to read and a perfect combination of history and storytelling.
Alexandra Taylor
Originally posted at

Ronan's Echo is everything I love about this sort of book and more. Much along the lines of Kate Morton's novels, it tells two interconnecting stories. That of Kat Kelso in modern day Australia and that of her great-grandmother Bridie O'Malley. Focusing on World War 1 and Kat's search for the truth of her family history - not just her Great-Grandparents, but also the truth of about her mother whom she has never had the best relationshi
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a Multi generational tale that moves between the late 1800's through to 2012. In saying that it is not a hard historical book to get your head around.
I loved this book. Catriona Kelso is a descendent of the Ronan Brothers Denny and Connor. She is a modern day anthropologist, and as fortunes wheel turns she is on the cusp of heading to Fromelle in France to help with excavation of the fallen AIF solders. The significance of this is exposed quite early on in this book, Denny and Conn
Veronica ⭐️
A few years after Bridie’s mother dies, Bridie along with her father, Eamonn, and brothers, Donal, Rory and Aidan move from Connemara Ireland to Australia in search of a better life. They are well off in Australia buying a large home which they name after their beloved Connemara and life is pleasant. Bridie befriends twins, Denny and Connor, and the three are soon inseparable. WW1 erupts and Bridie’s three brothers, along with the Ronan twins, enlist and are soon sent to fight for their country. ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, 2014
Following the fortunes of the Ronan family from their arrival in Australia from Ireland in the early twentieth century until the present day, the story is told primarily in time periods around WWI and present day.

The early part of the story follows Bridie, who forms a friendship with the Ronan twins, Connor and Denny. Shortly before they go to war Bridie becomes engaged to Denny. Her story is continued through the book as she deals with the aftermath of the war and the impact it had on returning
Deborah Allin
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm so delighted to have found this book by chance in my local library. Its a powerful story of the impact of trauma whose true roots have been hidden over three generations and I loved the way the story wove together the different elements and stories of the characters between past and present.

The book opens in the present day with the life of forensic archaeologist Kat Kelso who has returned to spend some time with her family before travelling to Fromelles to identify bodies of soldiers buried
This was the first in a row of WWI books I have lined up to read in April 2015. With the historical action centred on Fromelles and the contemporary story based in Sydney but looping back to the recent operation to identify unrecovered war casualties at Fromelles, I gained a little insight into this important part of Australia's war effort. Aside from that, it was everything you want in a family saga - secrets, tragedies, revelations and forgiveness. I found myself wishing that Bridie, the matri ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't seem to get this book out of my head. It captivated me from almost the first page. As the story develops the reader travels back in time to meet the twin brothers one of whom will die on the western front in WWI. The series of lies and family deceptions that ripple out from that death echo through the generations with tragic consequences. The price of war is not always paid by the soldiers but also by their families for generations. I would highly recommend this book even though it is at ...more
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I really enjoyed Ronan's Echo, I have always enjoyed Historical WW1 stories but this one grabbed me even more.
The whole battle of Fromelles is a chapter of our history that is not nearly as well known as others, such as Gallipoli, but deserves to be.
The modern day forensic component of what has been happening to identify these lost diggers held my interest but I will say that I picked the plot twist...
I passed this one along to my mum, who usually doesn't like reading war stories, but she really
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Aussie Readers: A special offer! 4 39 May 05, 2019 05:26AM  
Aussie Readers: Australia Only Giveaway! Ronan's Echo by Joanne van Os - 1/3/14 - 31/3/14 20 38 Apr 17, 2014 11:20PM  
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Joanne van Os grew up in Melbourne, and has been reading since before she can remember. She was lured to the Northern Territory in 1976 for a short term job, and stayed. Life in the NT's remote places meant jobs like bullcatching, buffalo and cattle mustering, station management and ownership, and tourism.

Life with her first husband, known as the "Real Crocodile Dundee", brought about her first b

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