NOVEL: Before The Fall – The Irish Trilogy 2

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What happens when a woman is haunted by the sins of her foremothers – and the men who betrayed them?

Facing the birth of her child, and single motherhood, Jo Devereux has spent the last six months in Mucknamore, the Irish village she fled twenty years ago.

A trunk of letters and diaries left by her grandmother and great- aunt has revealed a heartbreaking legacy of bitter secrets that have haunted the women of her family for four generations.

Now she must find out the ultimate truth: What other secrets and lies lie under her mother's and grandmother's unshakeable silence? How does it connect with her failed life as a gender-bending agony aunt in San Francisco? And what of Rory… her lost love, son of her family's sworn enemies?

Will Jo's mission to uncover the past unlock a possible future together? Or are they about to lose everything all over again?

As she pieces together the poisonous fragments of the past, Jo must now face into the guilt and shame that were her legacy and see how she might best redeem them in her own life.

A haunting, heartbreaking saga of love, loss, and secrets in two countries and two families ravaged by two kinds of intimate war. This is the second audiobook in Orna Ross’s Irish Trilogy, preceded by After the Rising and followed by In The Hour.

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7 reviews for NOVEL: Before The Fall – The Irish Trilogy 2

  1. Angel

    As expected!

    It was a present to my mother and she absolutely loved it as she has the first book of the collection!

  2. Squeaky Joe

    A superbly written tale

    In 1995, pregnant Jo Devereux is still living in Ireland. Caught between her relationship with former lover Rory and the desire to return home to San Francisco, Jo battles with the past and its possible impact on her future, as she unravels her family’s possible involvement in the death of Rory’s great-uncle, suffocated in Mucknamore’s notorious sinking sands. Writing her family’s history, she discovers how Granny Peg rescued Nora from a mental institute, only to trigger further problems with the O’Donovans.

    Following on from the first book in this trilogy, ‘After the Rising’, the story flips between 1920s and 1990s Ireland, and 1980s San Francisco. The book is beautifully written and draws the reader into a web of history, lies and murder. The characters are all deftly drawn and really come alive off the page, taking us into the heart of their lives and the difficulties of each generation. The dialogue, particularity, is realistic in each setting and gives a real sense of who the characters were.

    A superbly written tale that fully engaged me from the first page.

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  3. Gwenda Sutton


    Really enjoyed this sequel and cannot wait for the final book. Great story with the historical back drop and educational. If you are a fan of history and the Irish troubles it’s a must read.

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  4. Marcus Mulcahy

    Five Stars

    Well written gripping tale – highly recommended

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  5. LindyLouMac

    Love and grief intertwined with mystery

    As in the first volume of the trilogy the storyline jumps between locations and generations. Continuing the family dramas, though this time concentrating more on the characters of Peg and Norah and what happens to them in the 1920’s. Besides being set in Ireland the contemporary part of the story also takes the reader to the USA where AIDS was starting to take a hold when Jo first went to live there in the 1980’s.
    As Jo comes to understand exactly what freedom cost the families and how the past has haunted three generations, she realises that once can never truly break free from family.
    There is so much love and grief intertwined with mystery, which if you have read the previous volume I do not think you can fail to be moved by.

    Just like the first volume this is written in a flowing expressive style and left me knowing a little more about Irish history. Still looking forward to reading the third title in the trilogy, recommended to fans of historical fiction.

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  6. Nicky Guthrie

    I felt like screaming with frustration on reaching the last page of ‘After the Rising’ because I did not have a copy of ‘Before the Fall’ to get stuck into straight away, and then I decided to save it for a post-operative treat for myself. As such it needed to be a page turner to keep my drugged mind gripped, but I like books that are thought provoking and make one feel like a wiser person by the end. ‘Before the Fall’ ticked all the boxes. In a sense Ross throws caution to the winds and embraces almost all the controversial, traditinally taboo even, topics one can think of and, without ever losing the momentum of the narrative, looks at them in fresh new ways. Her descriptions are spare and striking and take the reader immediately and unconsciously into the moment – ‘the light is being sucked away over the horizon, taking the warmth of the day with it’ – ‘Each of its wide windows has its window box of valiant flowers fighting the traffic fumes gasped up from below.’ Ross has the ability to pack volumes into one short sentence: ‘I feel that the God I have always doubted has my belly in His fist and is intent on proving His power.’ This book entertains, educates, enlightens, but what I think I like best about it is that it offers up an old truth, polished and sparkling on a bright new context, and, for me this is encapsulated in these two sentences: ‘Babies are our chance, I understand, our best stab at heaven. Life is always offering us the opportunity to give, to help, to serve, to take the path of the good, the path of the happy, but most of us only manage it for our children.’ There are many jewells in this book and every reader will have their own favourite. And I can gaurantee you will not be bored!

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  7. Judith Hanne

    I can't recommend this novel highly enough

    I made the mistake of reading this sequel, Before the Fall, having not read the first book, After the Rising. However, it also works as a stand-alone book. The novel crosses the historical; the period just after the height of the troubles in Ireland, and the contemporary; the early days of AIDS in San Francisco. At the core is the story of a family struggling with loyalties, grief and tragedy. The plot is enthralling and the characters are extremely strong and rounded in their portrayal. Above all Orna Ross has a natural talent for dialogue that carries the reader along. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough.

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