Monday, September 22, 2014

Staff Pick - The Mrs. Browne Trilogy by Brendan O'Carrol

As the lazy days of summer drift away and the busy fall season gets into full swing, it can be really hard to find the time to sit down with a good book. But, for me, when things are bustling and stressful, that's exactly the time that I need to sit down with a good book - but oh, to find the right one.

A few good adjectives for reading during busy times: short, quick and interesting - and the books of Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs. Browne trilogy fit all three. The series is a few years old now, but it's still worth discovering. Agnes Browne is the mother of seven children, a widow and living in working-class Dublin in the 1960s. The series begins with The Mammy (with Agnes at the centre), follows through to The Chiselers (where the children's stories gain more of a focus) and finish with The Granny (once again returning the main focus to Anges, now with her children grown).The books have moments of sadness and moments of hilarity, and come together to form a wonderful family saga; bringing you into lives of the characters, so that you variously grow up and grow old with them, celebrating their trials and their victories. If you like books with good characters that you feel you get to know, this would be a great series to try. If you're interested in books set in Ireland, these also are worth a look as Dublin is described beautifully, becoming in a sense a character itself.

If you enjoyed the memoir Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt this series might interest you, as may some of these other books with similar storylines:

In The Castle of the Flynns
by Michael Raleigh
44, Dublin Made Me by Peter Sheridan (memoir)
The Van by Roddy Doyle
The Young Wan by Brendan O'Carroll (a prequel to the Agnes Browne series that follows Agnes before she was a mother)

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