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Published by Poolbeg Press on January 1st 2013
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
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On New Year s Day 1925 Ivy Rose Murphy awakes to find her world changed forever. Her irresponsible Da is dead. She is grief-stricken and alone but for the first time in her life free to please herself. After her mother deserted the family, Ivy became the sole provider for her Da and three brothers. Pushing a pram around the well-to-do areas of Dublin every day, she begged for the discards of the wealthy which she then turned into items she could sell around Dublin's markets. As she visits the morgue to pay her respects to her Da, a chance meeting introduces Ivy to a new world of money and privilege, her mother's world. Ivy is suddenly a woman on a mission to improve herself and her lot in life. Jem Ryan is the owner of a livery near Ivy s tenement. When an accident occurs in one of his carriages, leaving a young girl homeless, it is Ivy he turns to. With Jem and the people she meets in her travels around Dublin, Ivy begins to break out of the property-ridden world that is all she has ever known. Through Streets Broad and Narrow is a story of strength and determination in the unrelenting world that was Dublin tenement life.
We have the first 5 star book of the year with Through Streets Broad and Narrow! If you have taken a look at my About page, you’ll already know that my favourite genre to read is Historical Fiction and this book is one of the reasons why. I actually found it on Kindle Unlimited which is an awesome place to find something new to read because each month there are new books available to you for free.
One of the things that I like most about this genre is that it allows me to glimpse into what it would have been like to live in a specific time and place. Unlike something like a story involving magic and fantasy (which I also enjoy), the environment and people in a historical fiction novel could have actually existed and for some reason that makes me love it even more. To imagine what life was for someone in a different time period is so interesting! This book is set in 1925 Dublin and it follows a young lady named Ivy who has to beg every day to support herself and her father in the poor tenement neighbourhood called The Lane.
Jackson does a great job building a cast of characters who you can either love or hate and who you can really feel for. Ivy is such a fantastic strong female protagonist and her evolution throughout the book is so enjoyable to follow. Something in particular that I loved about the characters is that it is full of strong, smart and fiery women. It was so easy to cheer Ivy on through her struggles, to be interested in Ann Marie’s story, to love Granny Grunt, and those are just 3 of the fabulous females that you meet throughout the story.
The Lane, poor neighbourhood where Ivy lives, is almost a character on its own. While much of the story takes place outside of The Lane, it has a sort of pulse which I am sure was typical of that sort of area in 1920’s Ireland. The author does a wonderful job describing the houses and environment so it’s easy to imagine how things might have looked, felt, and even smelled.
Through Streets Broad and Narrow is the first of the Ivy Rose series and I already have the next book loaded on my Kindle and ready to go. It’s a fast-paced and easy read and I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy Historical Fiction or literature on Irish life.