Hello Bookish Friends
Today I’m really excited to be taking part in the Book Tour of, Bittersweet Tapestry
by Kevin O’Connell, which is being hosted by HFBT
Bittersweet Tapestry by Kevin O’Connell
#BittersweetTapestry #KevinOConnell #HFVBTBlogTours
A dramatic decade has passed since sixteen-year-old Eileen O’Connell first departed her family’s sanctuary at remote Derrynane on the Kerry coast to become the wife of one of the wealthiest men in Ireland and the mistress of John O’Connor’s Ballyhar – only to have her elderly husband die within months of the marriage.
Unhappily returned to Derrynane, within a year, under the auspices of their uncle, a general in the armies of Maria Theresa, Eileen and her sister, Abigail departed for Vienna and a life neither could have ever imagined – one at the dizzying heights of the Hapsburg empire and court, where Abigail ultimately became principal lady-in-waiting to the Empress herself, whilst Eileen, for nine momentous years, served as governess to the Empress’s youngest daughter – during which time Maria Antonia, whom Eileen still calls ‘my wee little archduchess’, has become Marie Antoinette, dauphine of France, though she continues to refer to her beloved governess as “Mama”.
As Bittersweet Tapestry opens, it is the High Summer of 1770. Having escorted the future Queen of France from Vienna to her new life, Eileen and her husband, Captain Arthur O’Leary of the Hungarian Hussars, along with their little boy and Eileen’s treasured friend (and former servant) Anna Pfeffer are establishing themselves in Ireland.
Their ties to Catholic Europe remain close and strong; in addition to Abigail and her O’Sullivan family and General O’Connell, his wife and young daughter in Vienna, their brother Daniel is an officer in the Irish Brigade of the armies of Louis XV, whilst their youngest brother, Hugh, is studying at École Militaire in Paris, his path to a commission in the Dillons’ Regiment of the Brigade. His gentle Austrian friendship with Maria Antonia having inevitably waned, Hugh’s relationship with the strikingly-beautiful young widowed Princess Marie Thérèse Louise of Savoy is blossoming.
Though happily ensconced at Rathleigh House, the O’Leary family estate in County Cork, being prominent amongst those families which are the remnants of the old Gaelic order in the area, Eileen and Art find that the dark cloud of the Protestant Ascendancy hovers heavily, at times threateningly, over them.
Bittersweet Tapestry is a tale of stark contrasts – between Hugh’s life of increasing prominence amidst the glitter and intrigue of the French court and Art and Eileen’s in English-occupied Ireland – especially as the latter progresses into a dark, violent and bloody tale . . . ultimately involving an epic tragedy, which along with the events leading up to it and those occurring in its dramatic wake, will permanently impact the O’Learys, the O’Connells – and their far-flung circle of family and friends in Ireland and across Europe.
With his uniquely-descriptive prose, Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful fabric affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as English-ruled Ireland. As the classic story unfolds amongst the O’Learys, the O’Connells, their friends and enemies, the tumultuously-dangerous worlds in which they dwell will continue to gradually – but inexorably – become even more so.
Bittersweet Tapestry joins O’Connell’s well-received Beyond Derrynane and Two Journeys Home as The Derrynane Saga continues – an enthralling epic, presenting a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant – and, in the case of France – violent change.
Mr. O’Connell began the Derrynane Saga in 2014. His first book, Beyond
Derrynane: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe, was published in July 2016,
whilst the second, Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe was
released in November 2017. Both are in global circulation and have received
a range of positive critical reviews, in the United States, the United
Kingdom and Europe. Bittersweet Tapestry is the third of four projected
The Saga has been described as being a sweeping, multi-layered story,
populated by an array of colourfully-complex characters, whose lives and
stories play out in a series of striking settings. Set against the drama of
Europe in the early stages of significant change, the book dramatizes the
roles which have never before been treated in fiction played by a small
number of expatriate Irish of the fallen Gaelic Aristocracy at the courts of
Catholic Europe. It is with Bittersweet Tapestry that O’Connell again focuses
in greater detail on their lives in English-occupied Ireland.
This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.
Bittersweet Tapestry, by Kevin O’Connell, is the third installment in The Derrynane Saga, set in the captivating times of the 18th century. Kevin O’Connell has way of pulling the reader into this wonderful depicted, turbulent times. The writing is absorbing the prose flows seamlessly.
What really stood out for me and what I really loved about this story was the compelling and emotional layered perspective views, and how they connected the story and the family. We see the the authors creative fictional side to the story interwoven historical details.
Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves vibrant period details, and historical facts, along with his own creative fiction to create a compelling storyline with riveting insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as English-ruled Ireland.
This epic family saga will catapults into lives the O’Learys, the O’Connells, during the dark sweeping events of the eighteen century. Wonderful fleshed out characters and captivating atmospheric details makes for unforgettable Book.
About the Author
Kevin O’Connell is a native of New York City and a descendant of a young officer of what had—from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland and Mr. O’Connell’s own grandparents came to New York in the early twentieth century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.
He is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.
For much of his four decades-long legal career, O’Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia (principally China), Europe, and the Middle East.
The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland.
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Blog Tour Schedule
Friday, November 1
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Interview at The Writing Desk
Feature at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Feature at Maiden of the Pages
Interview at Passages to the Past
Review & Guest Post at The Book Junkie Reads
Guest Post at Before the Second Sleep
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review at Books and Zebras
Feature at What Is That Book About
Review at Al-Alhambra Book Reviews
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Review at Hooked on Books
Review at Red Headed Book Lady
Review & Guest Post at Nursebookie
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Broken Teepee
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Thank you so much for kicking off the Bittersweet Tapestry blog tour! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it!
HF Virtual Book Tours