Review: Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac
ABOUT THE BOOK: Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.
When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. Here she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.
The worst part of the treaty, according to Pidge, was the division of the country’s thirty-two counties. The southern twenty-six counties were now part of the Free State, while the northern six remained part of the United Kingdom. And thus the conflict that would define Nora’s life was born.
REVIEW: If you had the chance to travel to the past and save someone from being killed, would you take that chance lightly or with a heavy heart? We see television shows and movies about this subject, where someone goes back in time but they aren’t supposed to change anything, only observe the past. But, what if you were specifically sent back to change the history for an entire country? That is an immense pressure, especially if you don’t really understand what is supposed to be changed, only what the desired outcome is to be. For Nora, she travels back a century earlier to save Ireland from the British. But, what happens if she dies? Or…if she can’t figure out how to get back to her time? All she knows if that Brigid has a plan…hopefully it is all for nothing.
When Nora was young, her father was killed by the Provos. She grew up fearful, taking care of her mother and helping her brother out. A little trouble comes her way when she begins selling drugs to help save money for a fresh start. In the clutches of some bad men who are supposed to be on her side, they make her brother join them to fight against the British, which leads to his untimely demise. Nora blames herself for his death. After visiting her brother in the hospital, she discovers that she can help Ireland. The Priest is Nora’s only savior, making her future to help those who have no one to turn to.
For years, working in refugee camps, she helps children and families who have endured starvation, illness, and abuse. Only escaping her world when she closes her eyes, that sanctuary has now become a nightmare as well. A man comes to her and asks for her help with saving him, but he is not of the same time. Nora is to go to Kildare and ask for Brigid. She brushes the dreams off as silly, but then they become more detailed and urgent. Finally deciding that it couldn’t hurt to go and see if there is anyone waiting for her, she goes to Kildare. Little does she know that he is asking for much, much more than she could possibly know? She arrives at the church in Kildare, where she is told that her life will never be the same because her destiny is meant for greater things, beginning with a journey to the past. Her mission is unclear, but she knows that Brigid has sent her back to help save Ireland from a century of fighting and confinement. What will happen now that she is back in time? Nora must trust her instincts more than ever. She has only ever known despair and desolation, but can she alone really change the outcome of the war?
McIsaac has a wonderfully written novel, which harbors creativity and superb character development. It is clear that she has a profound knowledge of history and a lot of research went into her story. There are hardly any grammatical or spelling errors, which makes the story flow at a steady pace; therefore, allowing the reader to understand the story with ease. If you are a reader of historical fiction or literature, this may be an entertaining read for you. This is the first installment in the Revolutionary series, so readers can jump right in. Please know that this story is not for the faint of heart; there are explicit scenes of violence against both men and women to reflect the struggle of war upon a country. It is not recommended to children or teens.
A copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by 47North Publishing through NetGalley, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a five-star rating for Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I grew up in beautiful New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. I was a short track speed skater for years (and still have the thighs to prove it). Once I gave up on my Olympic dreams, I earned a B.A. in Communication Studies, during which time I also cut my teeth in the communications industry as a speechwriter for the premier (ask me about the time I almost broke up Canada).
After university I spent an unforgettable summer working with refugees from Kosovo and then headed to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where I was schooled in the fine arts of drinking and swearing. I earned a graduate degree in global studies then spent a few years in the real world as a fundraising and marketing executive with non-profit organizations in Toronto and Vancouver. That morphed into my own copywriting business (which I still run on the side).
Finally, I got around to doing the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do: write novels. I currently do that in Calgary with my two feisty daughters and our cat, Chaucer.