Eilís Dillon

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Mary Hope

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 182

Eilis Dillon's romantic saga of the earlier Irish Troubles [Blood Relations] is dignified by detail. Even for someone well acquainted with that sad history, the wealth of observation of domestic minutiae and social complexity is useful and entertaining, though the main sweep of the novel ranges from the utterly implausible romantic to the pedestrian historic…. The story shifts uneasily between [Molly Gould's] family … and the activities of the freedom fighters of the twenties. It lumbers heavily from family intrigue, through clandestine plotting, endless journeys across country, shoot-ups with Black and Tans.

As an addition to the Hi-Ludwig-how's-your-ninth-symphony-going? school of Hollywood history, it is often hilariously mawkish: '"He sent me Mr. Childers, a lovely gentleman with a beautiful accent, maybe you know him …"' So, although much is interesting in the most basic sense—much fascinating detail of nineteenth-century Irish life—it leans too heavily on the prevalent but questionable view that everything in Ireland is explained historically. (pp. 21-2)

Mary Hope, "Books: 'Blood Relations'," in The Spectator (© 1978 by The Spectator; reprinted by permission of The Spectator), Vol. 240, No. 7812, March 25, 1978, pp. 21-2.

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