by Marita Conlon-McKenna
THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER, SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 IRISH BOOK AWARDS
With the threat of the First World War looming, tension simmers under the surface of Ireland.
Bright, beautiful and intelligent, the Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel and Nellie kick against the conventions of their privileged, wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella’s expectations.
As War erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters soon find themselves caught up in Ireland’s struggle for freedom.
Muriel falls deeply in love with writer Thomas MacDonagh, artist Grace meets the enigmatic Joe Plunkett – both leaders of ‘The Rising’ – while Nellie joins ‘The Citizen Army’ and takes up arms to fight alongside Countess Markievicz in the rebellion.
On Easter Monday 1916, the Rising begins, and the world of the Gifford sisters and everyone they hold dear is torn apart in a fight that is destined for tragedy.
‘Engrossing’ Irish Sunday Times
‘Finally, women are being written back into the history of [Ireland's] awakening’ Irish Mail on Sunday
Finally, women are being written back into the history of [Ireland's] awakening . . . There is such a story to tell, and the author skilfully handles her considerable amount of research
(Irish Mail on Sunday)
Conlon-McKenna's marvellous book could not be more timely. As painful as the story of these three sisters is, it is told with a light and deft hand. Her attention to historical detail is meticulous, her prose is easy and fluid. To tell a tale where the ending is already known and yet hold the reader spellbound throughout is an admirable trait in a writer, and Conlon-McKenna has accomplished this tricky manoeuvre beautifully. It's simply a gripping read
What is most admirable, most brave about Rebel Sisters, is that Marita Conlon-McKenna has dared to write a book that lacks a hero or heroine. In the violent times of its setting there can be no losers nor winners, only those who survive and those who do not. It is a mark of her moral honesty that Marita Conlon-McKenna does not run from such difficult confusions and conclusions. She will deliver the truth as her story tells it, and in doing so, pay searing testimony to the Giffords’ lives. I congratulate her on a most moving, and indeed necessary book. It is a terrific achievement by a terrific writer
A deft retelling of the story [of the Easter Rising] . . . Engrossing
(Irish Sunday Times)