The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican


This is one of the best examples of fiction opening up a historical era. The era is the “Roaring Twenties”. We know it was a short lived and excessive time, but this book allows us to see deeper into the complex effects of political unrest, economic realities and the new roles for women.

Felicity, “Fliss”, is the fictional character who narrates the story. She is an outsider in so many ways, neither rich nor poor, Irish nor English, she is not a “Guinness” and yet lives with the family on almost equal status.

The three main characters are Maureen, Aileen and Oonagh. While on the surface they have everything a person could wish for, at a deeper level we can accept that there are fundamental issues.

The novel, while set in the twenties, is told from the perspective of the an older “Fliss” in the nineteen seventies. There is something very grounding about the starting in “Glenmaroon” outside the gates of the Phoenix Park. Almost everyone in Ireland has an affection for the “Park”.

The long list of characters at the front of the book may be a little off putting to some – please just glance at it, because this novel remains an easy engaging read.

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