Tuesday 5 October 2021

An Irish Hostage

Finished September 28
An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd

This mystery is part of the Bess Crawford series. It is the summer of 1919 and Bess is home waiting to make a decision about her future as she knows the hospital doesn't need all the nurses that they did during the war, and she doesn't want to take a job from someone who really needs one. Short term, she has been asked to be maid of honour by a fellow nurse that she rescued when their ship was attacked. Her friend, Eileen Flynn is from Ireland, as is her fiance Michael Sullivan, who has just been demobbed from the British Army. 
But things in Ireland are tense with the British looking to guard against more uprisings like the one that occurred during the war. Bess's parents are worried about her travelling across Ireland to attend the wedding. Bess suggests asking Simon's friend Captain Arthur Jackson, an American pilot to fly her directly to Eileen's family home instead. This is seized on as a good solution to the issue.
It is Bess's first flight and she loves it, but she finds on arrival that things are more difficult than anticipated. There are some in the community who resent the Irish that served in the British forces during the war, and there are rebels looking for opportunities to further their cause, some with more appetite for violence than others. Bess finds that Michael has disappeared, presumably kidnapped, and although Arthur argues that they leave, Bess cannot abandon her friend, and sends Arthur to let her family know and see what more can be discovered. 
As Bess learns more about Eileen's family, from her rebel leader cousin Terrance who is supposed to give Eileen away at the ceremony to the local priest who is a close confidant of Eileen's grandmother, she finds she needs her nursing skills, her sharp mind, and her strategic intuition to be able to cope with everything that happens. Luckily, besides Terrance, she soon has another ally from an unexpected source.
This book gives insight into the complex Irish political situation of the time, without demonizing any of the players. Bess shows her strength, both of mind and body as she often does and stays calm even when things get very tense. I enjoy her as a character and enjoyed this setting and situation as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment