Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan

Dublin & Gallipoli, Revolution & War + Love     

My rating:  4 out of 5     

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A cleverly spun story weaving historical facts from Ireland’s Easter Rising in 1916 to the fighting in WWI as seen through the eyes of two very different young people.

Through the BarricadesMaggie and Daniel are both at school in Dublin when, after a chance meeting, Maggie draws Daniel into her world where she opens his eyes to the plight of the Irish people under British rule.    As their bond develops, Daniel realises that Maggie’s first love will always be her country, whereas his first love is Maggie herself.  In an attempt to save her from getting involved in dangerous revolutionary activities, Daniel  joins the army and finds himself fighting at Gallipoli.

Set during the years 1913 – 1916 the chapters alternate between Maggie’s story and Daniel’s.  The readers follows their love story, whilst learning  about the effect of British rule on the working people of Ireland and how the Irish Republican Army came to be formed.  Throughout the book, including during the Gallipoli pages, the author conveys drama, action and the horrors of war, against a backdrop of love and family life,  without resorting to graphic descriptions of gore

I found this quite a light read, even though the subject matter was so serious.  The writing flows well and the story moves at a good pace with much interesting detail and information about Ireland’s history.  Through Maggie and Daniel’s great characterisations I learnt a lot about the history of Ireland, the different revolutionary bodies that were growing and why.

Recommended.

See alsoThe Prince and the Pea by Denise Deegan (short story)

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