Continuing the saga of an Anglo-Irish family, we reach the
early twentieth century. THE WINSHIP FAMILY BOOK THREE
starts with Cornelia Winship, raised in America and
in her own right, marrying but quickly discovering that
might have made a mistake. Her titled new husband appears
too keen to drink and gamble, and claims that her money is
now his. Women don't have many rights, even rich ones.
Meanwhile in Parliament, we see Churchill, Lloyd George
Asquith introducing a People's Budget which would tax
landowners. To stay in power the government of the day has
to rely on the support of Irish parliamentarians, who
favour Home Rule for Ireland. The vexing 'Irish Question'
has dominated British politics for years, but we see that
the mainly absentee landowners have too much to lose by
handing their estates over to the native Irish. One such
family, the Sudburys, have no intention of losing their
wealth and employ spies in the opposition camps. By this
third book I did find the Sudburys a little too reliably
crooked, grudge-bearing and ill-dealing. Still, every saga
needs a villain and no doubt the fictional family merely
illustrates actual proceedings.
On the island of Ireland matters heat up with irregular
armies being formed, gun-running and tensions on both
sides. By sticking with a comparatively small set of
wealthy characters the author Michael McCarthy cannot
follow all the action so we get plain narration of
background to cover these issues. In 1914 the Great War
breaks out and fraught matters are worsened as Irish men
are sent to trenches. America later enters the war and we
see Anglo-Irish William Winship once more an officer in
battle. His experiences and those of Cornelia as a field
nurse can be upsetting to read. Also saddening is the
account of the 1916 Rising in Dublin and its aftermath.
Irish freedom fighters Michael Collins and Eamon deValera
make an appearance and there can be no doubt that the
eventual independence is welcomed.
No book covering the first half of the twentieth century
Europe can be cheerful, so Michael McCarthy has tried to
cover instead the reasons for failure, war, inflammation
already frail relations and the loss of a generation. I
think that a woman writer would have emphasised the rising
call for a women's vote. A retired economist and lawyer
among other skills, he lives in New Jersey and has
obviously studied the period thoroughly and enjoyed
bringing it to life. While this is not a romance there are
romantic aspects to show the real human face of the people
involved, and to encourage us to wish for their happiness.
Overall THE WINSHIP FAMILY BOOK THREE, like the whole of
the trilogy, is quite an accomplishment.
Against the backdrop of the Irish independence movement,
Book Three, Independence, the final book in The Winship
Family trilogy, continues the lives of James and Emily
Winship, Cornelia, now Viscountess Leadon, William and
Anne Winship, Brendan and Sean Kenny, and Wilton and Ivor
Sudbury. Book Three finishes with the drama surrounding
the 1921 treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, the
ensuing Irish civil war, the murder of Michael Collins,
and the death, in 1938, of James Winship. Included in this
book are British parliamentary leaders Winston Churchill,
David Lloyd George, H.H. Asquith, and Irish political
leaders Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, John Redmond,
and John Dillon.