I am delighted to share my review today for A Place to Belong by Cathy Mansell. This is one for historical fiction readers and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A Place to Belong is the gripping and heartwrenching novel from Cathy Mansell, set against the sweeping backdrop of Dublin and rural Ireland in the 1940s.
She lost everything in one night. Now she must fight for happiness.
It’s 1943 and Ireland has escaped the worst of the war raging in Europe, but life is not without its hardships. When fire breaks out at the convent in Cavan where she has spent the past ten years, orphan Eva Fallon barely escapes with her life.
She’s offered a bed for the night by Ma Scully, whilst her nephew Cathal, visiting from Dublin, helps battle the blaze. Seventeen-year-old Eva has never known such kindness but she’s too proud to take advantage, and finds a job at Blackstock’s farm, setting in motion a chain of events that will change her life forever.
Amidst tragedy and hardship, the only ray of light is the friendship of Ma Scully and her growing, secret love for Cathal. And through it all Eva clings to her hope that one day she will find a place where she can truly belong.
Purchase link – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
This is the first book I have read by this author and I absolutely adored it. I am so pleased that there are several more books for me to read by her.
This is set in 1943, WWII rages in Europe. Ireland is not affected as much by bombs like the UK and apart from rations life does seem to progress as normal for Eva. The story begins when there is a fire at the orphanage where Eva lives. Not everyone gets out. Eva comes across the wonderful character of Ma Scully, a straight-talking woman who keeps her eye on Eva. Once Ma realises that Eva is indeed trustworthy she helps her to find a job on the Blackstone farm as a scullery maid. Life there is hard and the mistress Aggie holds no favour for Eva, in fact, she goes out of her way to be as horrid as possible.
A turn of events causes Eva to leave quickly and she makes her way back to Ma Scully. Bad news seems to follow Eva as much as bad luck. Eva finds her self in the midst of an investigation that is no fault of her own. But, as much as there are many nasty people in the world, Eva has the good fortune to have met some very genuine, honest and caring people, especially in Ma Scully and her nephew Cathay.
This was such a gorgeous story that completely wrapped me up. A fabulous historical fiction that starts with a tragedy and finds Eva followed by heartache and worry. Eva is such a lovely character her innocent outlook on life and her naivety are just so nice to come across in a story. But obviously, with those nicer qualities, there are those that will try to take advantage. Don’t think for a moment thought that Eva is a walkover, she will stand up for herself and fight her corner.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the settings, with the odd mentions about the war helping to keep me firmly planted in the time of the story. There are some mentions of politics, but only briefly as the main focus of the story is Eva and the people who come into her life.
A truly wonderful story that I think readers of historical fiction, historical romance will enjoy. I loved the setting, the characters and the storyline and I would absolutely recommend this wonderful book.
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