The Liberation of Brigid Dunne: A Novel

The Liberation of Bridget Dunne by Patricia Scanlan

Published March 10th 2020 by Atria Books

3 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐

This is a story of three generations of Irish women coming together as a family to settle old grudges and grievances. It shares the politics involving women’s rights, and the burdens women carried in religion, specifically Catholicism. The story is set in Ireland and spans over 60 years. The story is focused on the lives of four women, sisters Brigid and Imelda, Imelda’s daughter Keelin, and her daughter Marie-Claire. It is not a linear story, the past is told throughout the book in memories, but it is easy to follow. It begins with a young woman having a miscarriage on Christmas Eve and we then meet the women involved and learn all about their lives, loves, failures and future.

I found this story a bit bleak, but it does have an uplifting ending. The characters are well portrayed and very realistic. Most families have troubled relationships somewhere, and perhaps even an Imelda, someone who is not happy in life and takes it out on everyone around her. She does have some reasons for it, but still, she could have risen above it all. This is a character driven story, and at times was slow moving. As the story unfolds, another layer is revealed in the relationships of the family and self-discovery in the individuals. I find it hard to rate this one as the writing is beautiful and descriptive, but the theme and story is sad, and at times depressing. It is a story of family relationships and how easy it is to tear a family apart, yet can take years, if ever, to put it back together. There are secrets, grievances, envy and heartbreak. The backdrop of the Catholic Church sets most of the story in motion and is ever present as these women struggle for their rights and redemption. I read this book for Reading Ireland 2021. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

The Liberation of Brigid Dunne: A Novel

About the Book: From the internationally bestselling “queen of contemporary Irish popular fiction” (The Sunday Times, London), a heartwarming novel following three generations of women as they each learn that it’s never too late to live your life to the fullest.

Marie-Claire has just made the shocking discovery that her boyfriend (and business partner) is cheating on her. Reeling, she leaves her apartment in Toronto to travel home to Ireland, hoping the comfort of her family and a few familiar faces will ground her. She arrives just in time to celebrate her beloved great-aunt Reverend Mother Brigid’s retirement and eightieth birthday. It will be a long-awaited and touching reunion for three generations of her family, bringing her mother Keelin and grandmother Imelda—who have never quite gotten along—together as well.

But then all hell breaks loose. Bitter, jealous Imelda makes a startling revelation at the party that forces them all to confront their pasts and face the truths that have shaped their lives. With four fierce, opinionated women in one family, will they ever be able to find common ground and move forward?

Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy and Elin Hilderbrand, The Liberation of Brigid Dunne is a moving and inspirational family saga that you will want to share with all the women in your life.

Patricia Scanlan

About the Author: Patricia Scanlan was born in Dublin, where she still lives. Her #1 bestsellers include Apartment 3B; Finishing Touches; Foreign Affairs; Promises, Promises; Mirror, Mirror; City Girl; City Woman; City Lives; and Francesca’s Party. She has sold millions of books worldwide and is translated into many languages. Patricia is the series editor and a contributing author to the award winning Open Door literacy series, which she developed for adult literacy.

Check out this interview with Patricia Scanlan at The Irish Times and her Facebook Page.