Stones Corner: Turmoil by Jane Buckley

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Historical Fiction
Stones Corner

By C.S. Holmes

Living, loving, and surviving the complex conflicts in Northern Ireland known as the time of “The Troubles,” Jane Buckley’s novel Stones Corner: Turmoil leaves no fascinating stone unturned as it dives into the past.

People who have only a vague understanding of the decades-long community violence known as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland and would like to know more will find much of value in Stones Corner: Turmoil by Jane Buckley. And anyone who was involved in these events will likely be amazed to at long last see one of the few in-depth explorations of this devastating time in print. Here’s the thing about on-going political turmoil though: as time goes by it can become harder and harder to distinguish who exactly the good and bad guys are/were, as Buckley’s novel skillfully illustrates. Just like the real life Troubles themselves, neither the novel’s plot nor its themes are clear-cut. Similarly, it also does not provide orderly, clean answers that wrap everything up in a nice neat bow by the story’s end.

The characters in the story continue dealing with family, eating meals, going to work, and falling in love as chaos continually threatens, happens, and sometimes seemingly reigns all around them. Unlike in real life however, due to the wonders of fiction, readers get glimpses into the private thoughts and souls of the drama’s key players. Londonderry (Derry) Northern Ireland in the 1970s is not a peaceful place, but despite all that, young, Catholic, Caitlin McLaughlin, like most people her age the world over, just wants to have an ordinary, normal, maybe even fun life. Which is easier said than done when bombs go off regularly where you least expect them, maiming or killing friends, and foreign soldiers keep busting into and ransacking homes in search of Irish terrorists. This probably isn’t a time to be dating anyone who isn’t from the exact same background, class, religion, culture, and side of town. But what if you or someone you know happens to fall for the wrong guy? In a reality where individuals — even British soldiers — are getting abducted and gleefully tortured to death for fraternizing outside strictly defined lines, forming new relationships is a dangerous business–whether the person you’re interested in happens to be a new Protestant boss who is decidedly from the other, richer side of the tracks, or a young, hip, local, impassioned, invincible-seeming Republican activist.

Stones CornerHard-hitting, informative, richly detailed, and filled with food for thought, Stones Corner: Turmoil by Jane Buckley is a historical novel fit to sink one’s teeth into. Best of all there a follow-up: Stones Corner: Darkness is coming.

(c) C.S. Holmes

Order your copy online here.

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