My Review of “Never Be At Peace” by M.J. Neary

Never Be At PeaceNever Be At Peace by M. J. Neary (published by Fireship Press)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once more Marina Julia Neary has proven she is an expansive writer, adept at handling a multitude of characters with honesty and imagination, intelligence and wit, engagement but also objectivity. Ms. Neary is ambitious and alert like a spider spinning a sticky web connecting many storylines into a saga spanning nearly forty years replete with twists of fate, theatrical egos, sexual maneuverings, impetuous love affairs, misbegotten off-spring, and impassioned if ambiguous conflicts in the protracted fight for Ireland’s independence that made history for textbooks and neglect.

As large as Ms. Neary’s storytelling is, it remains intimate and nuanced throughout with enjoyable and often insightful descriptions of the characters’ appearance and dress, what and even how they eat, their mannerisms and quirks, the places they haunt, and all kinds of details that make them real, ridiculous, amusing, talented and tragic but never larger than life. Yeats, Maud Gonne, Countess Constance Marckiewicz, James Connolly and any number of legendary individuals are drawn irresistibly conscionable and culpable, but not more so than the novel’s lesser-known figures—such as the feminist, activist, journalist and actress, Helena Molony.

Never Be At Peace pauses and moves along with verbose dialogue and distinct staging, unfolding with various personal and public dramas as though they are equally significant (and insignificant?); at least with the sense that they may be separated in dry facts but not in the human context of historic events. The informational aspect to Ms. Neary’s approach to historical fiction is more about style than didacticism. If it teaches anything, it is that nothing is what it seems—especially not history or heroism, loyalty or love.

Although writing about a similar progression of events as in her previous novel, Martyrs and Traitors, Ms. Neary has skillfully created a newly compelling story that has the reader forgetting they have been there before. Just as in life, so much is in the eye of the beholder. Never Be At Peace, despite its distractions and detours, is Helena Molony’s story: a testament to her courage and stumbling on her personal and civic passage through life, allowing the reader to breathe with relief for her vulnerability, forgive her “mistakes” and hope for a renewal of the vitality of her purpose. Yet, even as the novel represents Helena’s specific journey it highlights the experience of many women born or somehow persuaded to take outstanding roles in society, in relationships and even revolutions.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Read this review on amazon.com

Hope 2015 is getting off to a positive start for all!

Award Acknowledgements and Repost: Yeats Warned Me

Time has been getting away from me lately, and I apologize for being behind on acknowledging your visits, and reading and commenting on your posts. Once more I am resorting to a repost, one that rather reflects my mood of late, and I trust will offer more in the way of hope than regret to all those who read it for the first and second time.

I would like to make a specific and belated thank you to Susan Moffat (Writing Glimmers – a collection of original poetry and prose) for nominating me for One Lovely Blog Award, and to the London Flower Lover  who nominated me for the Reality Award. Please visit their wonderful sites as soon as you can, and, perhaps, also sample some of the other blogs they nominated.

I am so grateful to everyone who has encouraged and supported my writing and artwork, and who befriended me sight unseen. I award all of you my heartfelt wishes for health and happiness!

As I grow older
I become
lost in youthfulness.
The sky draws darker
reclaiming
starry innocence
while water
at its deepening
appears less troubled,
and leaves fall
fast into winter
full of sleep
yet not so gray as
the sun comes closer.
Most poets
love the shadows deep,
pilgrim souls
the wandering days
changing everything
and nothing.
But Yeats warned me
of regret,
so 
I’ve been waiting
and expecting it
as prickly
as the thistle down
and out of
time for murmuring
how love did escape
to will more
of life in its wake.

Writing note: Here is the poem that prompted mine… 

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)  

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Poem: Yeats Warned Me

 

As I grow older
I become
lost in youthfulness.
The sky draws darker
reclaiming
starry innocence
while water
at its deepening
appears less troubled,
and leaves fall
fast into winter
full of sleep
yet not so gray as
the sun comes closer.
Most poets
love the shadows deep,
pilgrim souls
the wandering days
changing everything
and nothing.
But Yeats warned me
of regret,
so 
I’ve been waiting
and expecting it
as prickly
as the thistle down
and out of
time for murmuring
how love did escape
to will more
of life in its wake.

Writing note: Here is the poem that prompted mine… 

               When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)  

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.