Sunday, November 3

Book Review: Bittersweet Tapestry by Kevin O'Connell

Bittersweet Tapestry: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (The Derrynane Saga, Book Three)Author:  Kevin O'Connell
Title: Bittersweet Tapestry (The Derrynane Saga, Book Three)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 380
Publication Date: November 1, 2019
Where I Got It: My shelf (Netgalley)

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

Been itching for more when book 2 ended! I was so excited when this was ready to be read. 

The story continues with Eileen and her friends/family. After escorting Maria Antonia to the Versailles, they have withdrawn back home to Ireland. However, not all is happily ever after for them or for the archduchess. There is a dark cloud on the horizon. 

I feel so bad for everyone. I just want them to have a HEA and live peacefully, but that is never the case. There is always something so it  made this story more realistic. Sad things happen and we all know the story of Marie Antoinette especially at the beginning of her unhappy marriage. I still wanted it to be different for her! I just want her to be loved! SIGHS. And I want Art and Eileen to be all happy and live their lives in peace in Ireland. But alas....not meant to be. 

The beginning was a little slow, but it worked and I liked it. It does allow for those who didn't read book 1 of 2 to be able to know what is going on. However, I do encourage reading books 1 and 2 to fully fall for the characters and get attached.

The writing is just as lovely as the others. The author really knows how to bring the story and characters to life in a beautiful way. 

OOoooOOOOO the feels in this one especially after a certain event. My poor heart! It did get a tear from me. Ugh. Won't say what, but it got me right in my heart there. 

Grrrr that baddie!!! *shakes fist* 

I want to be like Eileen when I grow up! And I loveeeee Art too!

The ending has me wanting more even though I am worried for our characters especially as time trickles on and we know Marie Antoinette and her family will have their own doom cloud heading towards them. Sobs!

In the end, this was addictive! I couldn't put it down just like the others. I think this was my favorite so far even though I was so upset at that one scene. Sob! I highly recommend this series for historical fiction lovers. 5 stars. :) 


Blodeuedd said...

Now I want them all to be happy too!

Passages to the Past said...

Yay! So glad you enjoyed Bittersweet Tapestry! Thank you for your wonderful review!

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Connie Porter Saunders said...

Thanks for sharing! Sounds great!!

Carole Rae said...

B, yess! I want them to have all the happiness.

Passages to the Past, Thank you so much for including me!

Connie, Thanks for stopping by!

Sophia Rose said...

You've got me convinced. I need to dig up this series. Been forever since I read a good tearjerker saga.

Carole Rae said...

Yesss! It is a good one!