My favourite genre of books is historical fiction, and Rebel Sisters by Marita Conlon-McKenna is exactly the reason why. While it is a novel, Rebel Sisters tells the very true and real story of the Gifford family, specifically three of the Gifford sisters: Muriel, Grace, and Nellie. Set in Ireland between 1901 and 1916, we follow the sisters as they come of age, each in their own, unique way.
During this time, there were four major conflicts happening simultaneously. Ireland was dealing with women’s suffrage, the industrial movement, the nationalist movement, and World War One. Muriel, Grace, and Nellie all became involved in these conflicts themselves and through the men with whom they fell in love.
I learned so much about Ireland’s history and especially their fight for independence while reading this book. The Giffords are a real family, and their tragic stories are still recounted in Ireland today. Rebel Sisters offers insight into the private lives of some of the key leaders of the rebellion. 2016 is especially significant as the year of publication for this book because it marks the 100 year anniversary of the Easter Rising.
I was a little unsure why the author was spending so much time early on giving a detailed history of each of the three sisters, but as I started googling more about Irish independence while I was reading, I learned that these women actually existed. I do wish she had captured the intensity and excitement of the time period a little better, but overall the fact that these events, and places, and people were real, had me so invested in learning their stories.
Rebel Sisters is also a great book for fans of Downton Abbey. There are elements from the love story of Sybil and Branson here, and we learn about the ideologies for which Branson is always so passionate.
If you're interested in learning more about Ireland and its history, absolutely pick up this book.
Thanks to Marita Conlon-McKenna, TLC Book Tours, and Transworld Publishers, I have a copy of Rebel Sisters to giveaway. It's open worldwide, so woot woot! See the Rafflecopter widget below.
Disclaimer – I received a copy of Rebel Sisters from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. To check out what other bloggers had to say about Rebel Sisters, here is the full book tour. Enjoy!