The horrors of the First World War devastated many a Dublin family and the Brannigans weren't spared. Struggling to get past their heartache, the family finds itself divided by both the rebellion against British rule and the wide Atlantic. Devoted matriarch Eda Brannigan witnesses her family unraveling. Sean and Molly make startling choices with potentially lethal consequences. Francis steeps in a drunken angry stupor. Young Brandon is so eerily quiet. Eda desperately wishes her beloved firstborn, Deirdre, wasn't living so far away. But with a determined resolve, Eda soldiers on in her bustling pub, The Gallant Fusilier, where tragedy, triumph and even love unfold. Can this family endure the violence and intrigue of the Easter Rising, the bloody struggle for independence, and a bitter civil war?
No Hero’s Welcome is a superbly told story of an Irish family’s struggles during and after World War One. Jeffrey Walker’s brilliant characters reflect the intense emotions of this divided country: Eda, the mother who strives to hold her family together; Sean, the rebel who joins the IRA; Francis, crippled by war and a staunch supporter of the crown; Molly, shattered by love; Peter who provides quiet strength to the cause he believes in and the woman he loves; and Brendan, the child who observes all things. The crowning glory of No Hero’s Welcome is The Gallant Fusilier, the pub that is both home and a source of income for the Brannigan family. Highly recommended historical fiction.
You write about Ireland in the time of the War of Independence at your peril. So much has been picked over, discussed, re-framed and re-evaluated that you'd better have your ducks in a row. And, fair play, the author did a whole heap of research (which he ensures we know about). Everything he writes about the Dublin of 100 years ago and the uneasy relationship between civilians, the Crown forces and the rebels rings of truth and realism. Within this setting he embeds a family saga, the surviving head of whom is a widow. With her ex-soldier husband's pension she purchases a pub in the working class Liberties and it is to here that the action always returns. So well the author describes The Gallant Fusilier that I wish I could be transported there for a Saturday evening session. All the characters, primary and secondary, are well-drawn and relatable, the action tense, the ending happy if messy - the gathering at the pub reminded me of a curtain call where every participant - plus a few we had never met at all - take a bow.
I'm rather sorry not to have read the first two books in the series though it stands perfectly well on its own. A very good read, even though I'm sure the Auxies and Black & Tans were separate if similar groups :-)
No Hero’s Welcome, the last novel in the Sweet Wine of Youth trilogy by Jeffrey K. Walker, follows the Brannigan family in the years after World War I. The location where most of the story takes place is a pub owned by the matriarch of the family, Eda Brannigan. The Brannigan family, in addition to the characters that populate the pub makes me what to see the story made into a film. Although part of a trilogy, "No Hero's Welcome" is a stand alone read so if you haven't read the first two novels (I recommend that you do because they are also excellent) you will easily be able to follow the story.
I love when a book keeps me on the edge of my seat, drawing me to read one more chapter when i should be sleeping and Mr. Walker's novel was a page turner for sure. I especially enjoyed the character development of each and every character, and the author made me feel like I knew each one personally. In addition, it gave me a new insight into the Irish quest for independence from England. I felt like it was an unbiased look at the issue so that I could understand both sides. i was so absorbed by the Brannigan family, that it made the story deeply personal for me because felt like I was in their pub seeing the story play out.
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Walker's first two novels in the trilogy but he upped his game in this novel and I am sad to see the story end. I will miss the Brannigan family.
This story is a compelling look at how various family members of an Irish family deal with life in Post-WWI Ireland. The characters must deal with the turmoil of the Irish Civil War, choose their own involvement in it, and deal with everything it takes to survive. The author does a wonderful job of knitting together the three books in this series. His faithful readers will find the conclusion quite satisfying.