NOVEL: A Life Before. Gonne-Yeats Series Book I
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Ireland, 1886: a time of land agitation, class struggle, and a fledgling women's rights movement.
A personal tragedy means the young English heiress, Maud Gonne, must leave the Ireland she has come to love, to return to the hated home of her patriarchal uncle in London. The young Irish poet WB Yeats, too, is forced by his father to leave his Dublin life where he has been using occult arts to fuel his writing, and bend the world to his will. And also on that ferryboat is Paddy Cross, an Irish country boy who soon finds himself adrift in London’s criminal underworld.
Thus begins an intricately plotted and meticulously researched mix of fictional and factual stories. The source of the passionate love for Maud Gonne that Yeats immortalised in his poetry begins here, with three lonely young people, threatened by forces beyond their control, coming of age in an era of international unrest and intrigue.
Bringing to life bohemian London, Paris and Dublin in the late 1880s, A Life Before begins a dazzling seven-book literary historical fiction series, based around seven kinds of love, but is also a standalone novel in its own right.
This first book in the series also introduces the magical voice of its narrating romancer, the wise and witty “oldest woman in Ireland”, Rosy Cross.
Effortlessly traversing the Irish land wars, the Parisian demi-monde, and the London slums and stage, in A Life Before Orna Ross goes behind the towering reputation of Maud Gonne and WB Yeats to create an unforgettable tale of rich and poor, young and old, romance and reality, invention and truth.
As tragedy draws the three troubled seekers towards passion and peril, can they overcome temptation, redirect their unmoored lives, and find the love and acceptance they crave?