Book Review

‘The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall’ by Ann O’Loughlin

tsorh-aolSTORY: Sisters Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan haven’t spoken for decades, torn apart by a dark family secret from their past. They both still live in the family’s crumbling Irish mansion, communicating only through the terse and bitter notes they leave for each other in the hallway. But when their way of life is suddenly threatened by bankruptcy, Ella tries to save their home by opening a café in the ballroom – much to Roberta’s disgust.

As the café begin to thrive, the sisters are drawn into a new battle when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, starts working at the Ballroom Café. Debbie has little time left but as she sets out to discover who she really is and what happened to her mother, she is met by silence and lies at the local convent. Determined to discover the truth, she begins to uncover an adoption scandal that will rock both the community and the warring sisters.

REVIEW: Rothsorney Co. Wickham – 2008

Ella O’Callaghan lives with her sister, Roberta O’Callaghan in their huge, and rundown family home, Roscarbury Hall. Their parents were killed in an accident leaving Ella and Roberta to try and make enough money to pay back a loan to the bank their father had made and to try to do as much upkeep to the Hall as they can afford.

Ella has been making her well-known cakes and selling them to local shops. She decides to open a cafe at the Hall set around the large fountain outside. But, Roberta is against the plan. The two sisters have been angry with one another for many years and communicate by writing notes to each other. Roberta is bitter about her past and drinks a lot. Ella is a widow and lost her baby girl in a freak accident many years ago.

Debbie Kading is an American woman who comes to Rothsorney looking for her birth mother. She knows that she was born in the area, adopted by her now deceased American parents and wants so much to find her real mother. The local group of Catholic sisters adopted out many children years ago. Most of the young mothers were unwed which was looked down upon at the time and one of the Catholic sisters actually took babies from their mothers telling them that the baby had died and then adopting them out. The scandal from this is about to blow sky-high.

When Ella and Debbie meet, they develop an immediate friendship. Debbie agrees to help Ella open the upstairs ballroom in the Hall for the cafe. The hard work the women put into cleaning and preparing it is enormous, but they get it done. The cafe is a great success.

We meet the many interesting town people and the gossip that some of them love to share. There is great heartbreak and illness that we encounter in the story, but we also learn about the time of the late 1950’s to 1960’s in the town. The determination that many people live with is very admirable.

I found this to be a story that grabs the reader and won’t let go. I enjoyed it immensely and hope readers will take the time to read it too. It’s a book that will remain with you for a long time to come.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b


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