Happy New Year & Classic Irish Childrens Fiction

Happy New Year!

Yes, another year has arrived! Although I am not happy with how quickly 2022 came and left us (seriously, how did that happen so fast?), I am pleased with how my writing year went. My second book was published, I gave writing classes for kids, I did school visits, I was interviewed by two different radio stations, was in three different newspapers, was interviewed by bloggers, had a blog tour, my first book The Lucky Diamond was a semi-finalist in Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award, the covers of both books were finalists in The Wishing Shelf cover competition, Revenge of Queen Rose is recommended by LoveReading4Kids, and both books are listed in two more bookstores. They are also now in Irish libraries!

But, being Irish, I have to look at the negative…I deferred the publication for my next book because I am so far behind schedule. I haven’t optimised my website. I meant to plan out a new series and start work on it. Plus a million other things…

The joy of a new year is that I can leave behind all these things I didn’t do in 2022, and simply add them to my fresh new list for 2023! Which is what I am doing. Plus I am setting the bar low so I can feel like an over-achiever at year end! That’s a good plan, right?

One of my goals for 2023 is to review more regularly Irish fiction. So my first book review of 2023 is The Grey Goose of Kilnevin by Patricia Lynch.

Betsy, the little grey goose, is left behind with Aizybones the dog, while farmer Jim Daly brings the other geese to the fair in Kilnevin, But Betsy longs for adventure and decides to follow the other geese. In Kilnevin she meets and befriends Sheila, a little girl who works as an unpaid skivvy to Fat Maggie. Fat Maggie, sick to death of Sheila, tells the little girl to go to Bridgie Swallow and get three pounds of butter. Unaware that going to Bridgie Swallow’s for butter is an excuse for getting rid of someone, Sheila and Betsy set off on their task. On the way they encounter the blind ballad singer, the young boy who helps him, and an old apple lady who all join in on the quest. But how can Sheila find Bridgie Swallow? And will Betsy succumb to the lure of the wild geese?

This is a charming, magical tale. First published in 1939, The Grey Goose of Kilnevin really stands the test of time. Ireland has changed a lot since Sheila and Betsy went wandering but there is a truth to the depiction of the Irish character and nation that remains to this day. Reminiscent of fables where animals warn or assist the heroine, birds are cursed people, and ten foot snow drifts and mysterious woods appear as obstacles along the way, the book also has a dreamlike quality. All in all, a really enjoyable read.

The Grey Goose of Kilnevin is not currently in print but if you come across a copy of it, I recommend you give it a read. One word of warning – a lot of the colloquial language is spelled phonetically. “That’s a quare, courageous little crathure,” the old apple woman says of Betsy, and the little goose certainly is!

15 responses to “Happy New Year & Classic Irish Childrens Fiction”

  1. Congratulations on a successful 2022. Here’s to more accomplishments in 2023. Your review today has me noting the title in case I come across a copy. Sounds like a story I’d enjoy especially with the Irish background.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, 2022 did seem to move along quickly for me too. Maybe age has something to do with it! πŸ™‚ You’ve certainly had a productive 2022 and a promising 2023! I’m Irish and am always intrigued with stories about Ireland. Believe I would enjoy the enchanting book you reviewed today! How do you find Irish titles? Especially this one, which is out of print.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I didn’t realise you were Irish :). You definitely should read Patricia Lynch, if you went down the country today, you’d still meet her characters! My mother had all her books so I read them when I was a child (I wasn’t too keen on the phonetic spelling then, I find it charming now!). I was able to get a second hand copy through Amazon. The Turf-cutters Donkey and The Bookshop on The Quay are two others I remember and also got through Amazon and I am looking forward to reading. I hope you are able to get hold of one of them at least!

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  3. Happy New Year! Sounds like you had an incredible 2022! Here’s to even better things in 2023!

    I love The Grey Goose of Kilnevin. Your review has made me want to read it again. I’m sure I still have a copy in my library.

    Liked by 1 person

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