Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow. July 6th 2021.
Format: NetGalley e-book. Advanced reader copy.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book copy from NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Mystery readers.
Rating: Very good.
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Charles Todd is a mother and son writing team. They have two sets of mystery series. One is the inspector Ian Rutledge series. The other is the Bess Crawford series. An Irish Hostage is #12 in the Bess Crawford series.
Bess Crawford is asked to be the maid of honor at the wedding of a fellow nurse, Eileen Flynn. Bess actually helped rescue Eileen during a traumatic event during World War I. Eileen is Irish. She wants her wedding to be in Ireland. It has been less than a year since the Armistice after World War I.
Ireland is a hot spot because of the recent Easter Rising in 1916. The people in Ireland want an Independent Republic. They want to be independent and free from British Rule. Those who served during World War I, even those who were nurses, are considered untrustworthy and the enemy because they served with the British.
Bess’s parents do not want her to travel to Ireland. They certainly do not want her to be at risk for those who hate the British. With a friend’s help and his plane, Bess makes it safely to Ireland. But as soon as she enters Eileen’s home she realizes the serious situation.
Eileen has a cousin named Terrence. He is in hiding from the British because of his “activities.” Bess cannot trust the family except for her friend Eileen, and she is in hopes she can trust Terrence. At the least, she needs his advice and experience.
I’ve read several books in both of the Charles Todd series. I enjoy both of the main characters. I like their personalities. I like their quirks. I love how they handle themselves during times of trouble and hardship. I have not read enough of the books to know if they become romantically involved with someone (in the present tense). Sometimes adding a romantic partner to a strong character in a story, especially a series of books, takes away some how from who they are and what they can continue to accomplish. After #12, An Irish Hostage, I am curious what will become of Bess Crawford?
Several reasons why I love An Irish Hostage:
1. The setting of the story is in Ireland. I saw the landscape, culture, and society of the people. It shows a history that I’ve not read enough about: The Irish War of Independence . I understand the various opinions, feelings, behavior, and actions of both sides. Even in the group who wants independence, there are varying degrees of how far they will go to get the result they believe must happen.
2. I love the relationship Bess has with her parents and friends. She is one of the most loyal, steadfast, and compassionate book characters I’ve read.
3. Bess is an intelligent, decisive, no-nonsense type person. She is a person who does not give up. She does not surrender. She is like a sleuth dog on the trail of the scent.
4. This book is dedicated to two cats. The writing teams beloved felines. God bless them for doing this.
5. Secondary characters who I thought would not be involved in cruel intentions surprise me.
6. Bess is able to use her nursing skills. I love stories with medical treatment even if it is in history.
Two reasons that held me back from giving this book an excellent rating.
1. Bess shows prejudice. It is slight. It could almost be overlooked, but the prejudice against the Irish is apparent to me.
2. Bess is decisive and a no-nonsense type person as I stated in #3 above. In An Irish Hostage, she comes across as too bold and brash. I understand she wants answers, but without her admitting this to herself, she put herself in harm’s way (and possibly others).
I understand Bess is an imperfect person just as we all are. I understand she is a book character and not a real person. Nevertheless, those two issues still kept me from giving the book an excellent rating.