Fenian's Trace

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
238 Pages
Reviewed on 02/12/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Neil A White for Readers' Favorite

Fenian’s Trace by Sean P Mahoney is the story of two young boys, Rory and Conor, and their journey into adulthood told through the exquisite voice of the local publican, Mr. Clancy. The early 20th century was a tumultuous period in the long and often sad history of Ireland. And as the boys come of age in the embryonic days of Irish Independence, their hopes and desires for a better tomorrow begin to take ever more divergent paths – as had their families before them. Throughout all of the tumult and the heartrending conclusion, the love shared between the two brothers endures.

I began Sean P Mahoney’s excellent novel, Fenian’s Trace, on a warm Texas afternoon. Within the first thirty pages, I’d lost all track of time. The late afternoon sun was lost to a steel-grey sky that hung heavy with the threat of rain, the smell of smoke wafting from a turf fire in the hearth filled the air. I’d been transported to a rundown farmhouse in County Clare in the early 20th century without having left the comfort of my couch. There truly is something both lyrical and magical in the way an Irishman can spin a yarn. Sean P Mahoney has that gift in spades.

Mahoney’s writing evokes the works of Sebastian Barry - in particular, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty – and, in a lyrical sense, William Trevor. Sean P Mahoney can claim his place at the bar between these two Irish masters and proudly hold his jar of Guinness aloft – for just the one, mind you.