In the early years of this century, Paddy Cleary moves his wife and seven children to Drogheda, an Australian sheep station,owned by his autocratic and childless older sister. For more than half a century we follow their fates, particularly those of Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and the one man she truly loves, Ralph de Bricassart - stunningly handsome, ambitious, and a priest.
I can remember this as a program on TV and it was on really late at night, I asked my parents to be allowed to stay awake one night and watch it but was told that I was too young and it wasn't going to happen so when I noticed the paperback available at a garage sale I had to buy it and see what all the fuss was about. I have since read it a few times as it is a story I do enjoy.
Family relationships are never easy and this book follows the Cleary family and shows their happy times and sad times and hard times. It can't be easy growing up as an only girl among that many brothers and realising that your mum has kept a secret for years. The characters are well written and the author doesn't rely on graphic sex scenes in the book so that is another good thing, the story is strong enough not to need such cheap tricks to make it more interesting.
This book is almost as old as I am and still the story has relevance. You do feel sorry for them with the sorrows and celebrate the good times and sometimes the "sorrows". You get to read about Meggie as a young child, follow her forbidden love for Ralph and her subsequent marriage and then you really want to know what her hubby was thinking treating her the way he did, her desperate desire to be a mum and then her journey into parenthood, the huge loss of her child and her coming to grips with things as an older woman and surprisingly her changing relationship with her own mum.
I still have my copy of the book and do read it often. This is a book that can be read over and over and the story doesn't get old.
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