Ireland, 1924. For thirteen-year-old Nora Doyle every day is a fight for survival. In the rural Irish village she calls home, she is no stranger to funerals or feeling the cold wind blowing through the windows of the small cottage where she lives with her family. Somehow Nora manages to keep smiling, but she longs to escape the poverty surrounding her.
One day, Nora’s life changes when her sense of adventure leads her and her best friend, Kitty, through a hole in the wall of the huge house on the top of the hill. In the secluded, carefully tended garden they discover on the other side, Nora and Kitty meet Edward, the young boy who lives there, and they instantly form a strong bond.
Soon Nora is spending every moment she can spare in the secret garden. But in escaping from her life in the village, Nora is going against the wishes of her family, who have forbidden any contact with the big house. Because Edward holds the key to a family secret that will change Nora’s life forever, and force her to make an impossible choice between her family and her future…
I have always enjoyed Historical Fiction by Sandy Taylor and this wasn’t an exception. The Orphan’s Daughter is what I’d describe as a quiet story. Reading it transported me to Ireland and into the life of Nora Doyle. Hers wasn’t a fast, overly exciting life but it was beautiful and interesting in its simplicity.
Sandy Taylor writes beautifully. Nora and her best friend Kitty had me smiling almost throughout the book. The story is so descriptive that it fully transported me into their lives. I could picture them sitting on the wall watching funerals, sitting by the fires, dipping their fingers in the holy water. I love good, descriptive writing and the imagery in this one was wonderfully done.
This story tackles a number of themes including love, family and friendship. It is quite emotive and had many moments of highs and lows. I laughed with Nora through her highs and felt her sadness through her low moments. I think the author did a brilliant job in creating a character that is so easily likable and easy to sympathize with.
The Orphan’s Daughter was everything that I thought it would be. Beautifully written, poignant, riveting and quite memorable. Definitely recommended to all fans of this genre.