Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Glorious Guinness Girls

 The Glorious Guinness Girls 

Author: Emily Hourican 

Publisher: Grand Central Publications 

Year: 2021

Three sisters with wealth, glamour, and a name recognized around the world. A country struggling to throw off the shackles of its oppressor and find it’s independence and identity. A society of changing norms and expectations ushered in by the Jazz Age. It all comes together in Emily Hourican’s The Glorious Guinness Girls. 

That’s is a lot, but the Guinness girls were a lot. Descendants of the the famous brewery family, Aileen, Maureen, and Oonagh came of age during Ireland’s fight for independence and civil war and the Jazz Age. In this fictional account, Fliss is sent to live with the Guinness family after her father dies in WWI and her family falls on hard times. She’s meant to be a companion for the girls. The story is told through her eyes as she grows up with the three sisters at their estate outside of Dublin and at their residence in London. Fliss is part of the family,  but she is very aware she is never a member of the family. 

Most of the book’s attention is focused on middle sister Maureen, the most outspoken and quick tempered of the sisters. All three sisters come off as very superficial characters. Of course, this was the time period when wealthy daughters were sheltered and raised to marry well and be good hostesses. But their characters seemed flat and not fully fleshed out. The chapters set in London where all they did was go to wild parties every night dragged for me after awhile. 

The story unfolds over two different timelines- when the girls were growing up and then in the late 1970s. I think the story could have been told with out the later timeline. I don’t think it added much to the story. 

Overall, this was an entertaining and enjoyable quick read. I liked the time period it was set in. The author provided enough historical and political details so the reader gets the gists of what was happening in Ireland at the time. This is a good choice for fans of Downton Abbey or The Great Gatsby. 


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