Trespasses: Book Review

Books have the power to be transformative, to shape or reshape perspectives and understanding. And when a book shows you a glimpse into the past that profoundly moves you, you can't help but scream from the rooftops about it. That's exactly how I feel about Trespasses, the latest from Irish author, Louise Kennedy. This book is EVERYTHING I hoped it would be and more. Heartwrenching and insightful, Trepasses gives readers a front-row view of The Troubles and the schism it caused in the everyday lives of the people impacted by the conflict. It's the type of book that stays with you, wedging between the nooks and crannies of your heart to stay for years to come.


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Trespasses Book Review

Quick Look

  • Northern Irish historical fiction
  • set during The Troubles
  • extramarital affair
  • debut novel

Pub Date: November 1, 2022

Thanks to @prhaudio for the gifted copy!

Publisher's Synopsis

Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, a shattering novel about a young woman caught between allegiance to community and a dangerous passion.

Amid daily reports of violence, Cushla lives a quiet life with her mother in a small town near Belfast, teaching at a parochial school and moonlighting at her family’s pub. There she meets Michael Agnew, a Protestant barrister who’s made a name for himself defending IRA members. Against her better judgment, Cushla lets herself get drawn in by him and his sophisticated world, and an affair ignites. Then the father of a student is savagely beaten, setting in motion a chain reaction that will threaten everything, and everyone, Cushla most wants to protect.

My Review

Wow. I had this book in my audiobook library for months, and now I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner while simultaneously wishing I hadn't read it just so I can read it again for the first time. That was a long sentence all to say I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Not only was the writing superb, the characters and story arc completely sucked me in and ate my heart for breakfast. The narration of the audiobook added an extra layer of authenticity, so I highly recommend listening to this one if you can. I was SO invested in this story that I didn't want it to end!

Beware: This is not a pretty story. It's not happy. The drama of the main character's life is complex and heart-wrenching. As a reader,  you can't help but get your hopes up that things will be ok, will get better, or will somehow change. But the book plays out much like real life: often disappointing and brutally honest. Still, it's so beautiful and moving, exactly what I wanted from a book about life during one of the most difficult periods of modern history. I will be reading whatever Louise Kennedy writes next!

My Rating

Trespasses was unexpected. It's the kind of book that sneaks up on you, crawls into your brain, and just won't leave. I loved it when I finished it, but I think I love it even more now, months later. Kennedy's characters are so richly crafted that it's hard to not feel drawn to them and impacted by their stories. This debut is a powerful glimpse of the Irish experience circa 1975 during the height of The Troubles. It's melancholic and measured, gritty and unyielding, hopeful yet dark. And I loved every word.

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About Carlie

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