Plot/Idea: The third book in the Paddy Series, With Great Sorrow is a moving, character-rich, and well-paced novel. Rosaleen and Emmett’s perspectives are tightly woven to form a cohesive and highly original tale of how Irish immigrants came to be involved in the Civil War.
Prose: Boyle’s mastery of the nuance of language is on full display in this work. Her Irish characters, even when not speaking with a brogue, use language appropriate for their place in time as recent immigrants. When jigs are incorporated, they flow authentically from the characters’ lived experiences. All of this adds to the sense of immersion within this specific place and time.
Originality: Using the unique lens of one Irish family as a starting point, the complexity of life in this place and time is illustrated in crisp detail.
Character/Execution: Boyle’s Rosaleen is the locus for an extraordinary peek into the complexities of life during the Civil War era. Not only does she treat the main characters with exacting authenticity, but peripheral characters, such as Ronan and Lydia, are fully realized from the start. When revisiting these characters later in the story, the impact of their circumstances hits with greater impact.
Date Submitted: April 04, 2023