When the Sun Bursts

Ireland, 1916.

The Irish nationalists are preparing to fight for their freedom from the British.

Lydia Fitzgerald, a Protestant land-owner, will play a crucial role in the war – and all for her German lover.

Lydia betrays her family and their place in the establishment when she begins to work in secret for the Irish rebels.

She helps to entangle them with the Germans, securing the Kaiser’s support for the Irish nationalists’ uprising while inviting German troops onto Irish soil.

Sadie McDonald, her one-time serving girl, is searching for the son she gave up under dark circumstances.

Her quest to get him back will lead her down a dangerous path as the city teeters on the brink of implosion.

When the Germans descend on the city with their Zeppelins, wreaking havoc among the fighting citizens and soldiers, the two women are thrown into the chaos of a war that Lydia helped to make.

They must survive the bloody conflict between soldiers, rebels and the threat from above in order to reunite with their loved ones.

As the uprising takes hold of the city, the lives and histories of the two women begin to intersect with far-reaching consequences.

‘When the Sun Bursts’ is a thrilling story of the fine line between love and war.



John Maher wrote a wildly intriguing and a brilliantly epic story set in Ireland during one of the most explosive and definitely one of the most defining moments in Irish History. 1916 would become a pivotal year as it was arguably the first domino hard enough to fall to push things into motion that would one day give most of Ireland her freedom.

 I liked that he wrote his dialogue to try and mimic the speech patterns and vocabulary of the time his story is set in; it takes a bit to get used to but brings a ring of truth and realism to the story. His sentence structure and word choices make it flow in a poetic fashion.

 He did a good job in how he presented the complexities of Catholics and Protestants during this time and in this country. It was nice to read a story set during this incredibly stressful and violent time that didn’t seem too biased towards one side or the other which in and of itself is extraordinary. He even included the Germans which is something people often forget, or wish to not drawn attention to due to what was going on in the world at the time; talk about doing your research and getting the authenticity correct.

 The character development in this book was astounding considering he had to balance the culture, beliefs, personalities and history of people from Ireland, England and Germany who were all hell bent on destroying one another or helping one another to survive depending upon which side you sold your soul to.

 I did get a good laugh at Dev, who would go on to become President of a Free albeit divided Ireland, described as “the skinny Mexican chap”. He was an American citizen born to an Irish mother but I suppose his father’s Spanish heritage could easily have altered Dev’s DNA enough to have him mistaken for Mexican.

 I had family who fought and were a part of the turmoil of this time period and felt honored to read this book because Maher so eloquently captured the emotions and motivations of the period of everyone involved. Due to my family connections I have read and/or watched everything I could get my hands on and believe the author created a work that honors the complexity of the time and to see it through the eyes of characters who didn’t sign the Proclamation just made the “what if this was true” more interesting.

 I would hope that anyone who reads this book will go on to study and read more about this time; how it led to an incredibly divisive Civil War which would lead to a divided country (3/4 Free 1/4 remains under British control) which led to The Troubles then the Good Friday Agreement and maybe (finger crossed) unification post-Brexit.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Endeavour Press for allowing me to review this book.

 *synopsis and pic from netgalley.com

Buy at Amazon : http://a.co/hrq8RU7

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