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About Jean Grainger
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.
WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR'S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE
'Warm and wise, reading a Jean Grainger novel is like sitting in the kitchen of a friend. Her authentic writing welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.' Kate Kerrigan, NYT Bestselling Author.
'In the same magical tradition as classic Irish storytellers, Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt, Jean Grainger transports the reader into a world where the characters not only come alive, but become friends, who stay with you long after you've closed the last page. I have no doubt that Jean Grainger will be considered one of the finest historical novelists of our time.' Roberta Kagan, Bestselling author of 'All My Love, Detrick' series.
Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you're wondering what you're getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have 'The Talking Spoon', only the person holding the spoon could talk!
I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world's smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.
My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, 'The Tour'. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It's a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.
The sequel to The Tour, called Safe at the Edge of the World, follows Conor O'Shea once again as he takes another motley crew on a tour of Ireland. This time with a very odd couple aboard who seem to be hiding something.
The third Tour book in that series is called The Story of Grenville King and in it Conor gets an opportunity to renovate and run an old castle as a five star resort, but something isn't quite right, and the castle has many secrets.
The fourth Conor O'Shea book is called The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary and features a group of friends taking their friend Bubbles home to Ireland from New York, on last time.
My first World War 2 novel, 'So Much Owed' is a family saga based in Ireland following the Buckley family of Dunderrig House. The story opens in the trenches of WW1 at the end of the war and moves to tranquil West Cork. As the next generation of the Buckley family find themselves embroiled once again in war, the action moves from Ireland to wartime Belfast, from occupied France to the inner sanctum of German society in neutral Dublin. The history of the period was my academic specialty so I'm delighted to be able to use it in a work of fiction.
I released a second WW2 book, called 'What Once Was True' earlier this year and so far people seem to really like it. Its set in a big old house, and based on the lives of the two families that live there, The Keneficks that own it and the Murphys that work for them.
Shadow of a Century, is set in New York in 2015 as well as in Dublin during the events of Easter Week 1916, where Irish men and women fought valiantly to rid our island of British Imperialism. While not my academic specialty, I loved researching this book. My husband, most fortunately for me is an expert on this era and so I didn't have to go too far for assistance. The story features three very strong women, united through a battered old flag. Its essentially a love story, but with a bit of intrigue thrown in for good measure.
Under Heaven's Shining Stars, was published in 2016 and is set in my home city of Cork. This time its against the backdrop of 1950s and 60s Ireland and it really is a book about friendship, family and the Catholic church. I have a deep personal affinity with all of my characters but this book is especially close to my heart.
I wrote a novella called Letters of Freedom after hearing a woman on the radio one day explaining how being raised in state care prepared a person so poorly for the realities of independent living. Her story was so moving I was inspired to write a short novella there and then.
Carmel's story really seemed to touch people, and I got such a huge reaction from readers all over the world, many of them telling me the most extraordinary stories from their own lives, I wrote a sequel. The Future's Not Ours To See, which follows Carmel as she ventures forth into a world she knows so little of is out now. The third Carmel and Sharif book, What Will be, is also available and it finishes the story of this woman who spent her entire childhood believing something that wasn't true. She returns to Ireland, very reluctantly and discovers that in order to go forward she has to first make peace with her past.
My next book, What Once Was True, tells the story of a big old house in Co Waterford during WW2. Two families live there, the impoverished Keneficks who own it and the hard-working Murphys who work for them. Life has remained unchanged for centuries but when war comes, it means everything changes and people have to question what once was true. This book was selected by Bookbub readers as in the top 19 Historical Fiction books of 2018. The sequel to this, Return to Robinswood, continues the story.
My latest series, The Star and the Shamrock, the Emerald Horizon and The Hard Way home is about two little German Jewish children who find themselves on the Kindertransport out of Berlin. They end up in Northern Ireland and it was a real labour of love. The research was harrowing at times, but I hope I've done justice to the stories of so many children who escaped the Nazi terror, often never again to see their parents. This is a book of hope in dark times, of the enduring power of love and the incredible resilience of the human spirit.
Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that's wonderful for me to hear because that's how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I'm very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don't, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.
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Twelve-year-old Harp Delaney is an unusual child, quiet and intelligent far beyond her years. She would rather spend her days in the library of the grand Georgian house that she sees as her home than playing on the streets with other children.
Her mother, Rose, is the reserved and ladylike housekeeper at the Cliff House. The local women envy her grace and poise while the men admire her beauty. She behaves not as a servant should, but as someone who belongs at the ancestral home of eccentric loner Henry Devereaux.
Nobody ever visits the Cliff House, but Harp, Rose and Henry have a happy life together, each accepting the idiosyncrasies of the others.
The day Titanic sails from Queenstown, taking with it the hopes and dreams of so many, Harp’s life too is devastated. The small port town is shaken to its foundations at the loss of the unsinkable ship, but the revelation of a long-held secret means that Harp and Rose have a much more pressing issue to solve, one that could destroy them if they cannot find a solution.
Unexpectedly, fate takes a hand, and mother and daughter find themselves thrown a lifeline, one that inextricably links them to the stories of men, women and children for whom Queenstown was the last-ever sight of Ireland as they sailed away to new lands and new lives.
Last Port of Call is the first book in The Queenstown Series.
New from USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jean Grainger,
One House, two families and a war that changes everything that once was true....
Robinswood, Co Waterford, 1939.
The once grand house is home to two very different families.Despite delusions of grandeur, Lord and Lady Kenefick and their adult children, live a life of decayed opulence as the money needed to keep such a large house and grounds ever dwindles.
Meanwhile, the Murphy family, Dermot, Isabella and their three almost grown up girls, live and work on the estate and do their best to keep everything running smoothly.
Social structure is vital. Everyone knows their place, but as war looms, both families find themselves drawn into the conflict and begin questioning everything that once was true.
From the leafy grounds of an Irish stately home, to the bombed out streets of London in the Blitz, allow yourself to be swept away once more in Jean Grainger’s latest bestselling historical saga.
A charming Irish bus driver. A group of misfit American tourists. One life changing week for everyone on board.
USA Today Bestselling author Jean Grainger wants to take you to Ireland.
Guide Conor O’Shea has given hundreds of tours, and doesn’t expect this one to be any different, taking take a bus full of strangers through Ireland’s most colorful and iconic locations.
The passengers couldn’t be more different—a Wall Street banker, a man-hunting serial divorcee, a love-hungry cop and a very old lady with an incredible secret—but each wants something, and they all have something to hide.
Conor’s avoided conflict his whole life, but with every stop, his passengers uncover secrets and face truths that will change their lives.
Can Conor continue to watch from the sidelines? Or is he brave enough to face his own problems?
Witty, informative, and with a touch of romance, The Tour is as colourful and turbulent as the wild Atlantic coast. You’ll get an insider look at one of the world’s most beautiful places, as you take a tour you’ll never forget as you navigate the stunning vistas of gorgeous Ireland along with the hearts and minds of a cast of characters who will live with you, long after you've finished the last page.
Can you afford to miss the trip of a lifetime?
Ariella Bannon has no choice: she must put her precious children, Liesl and Erich, on that train or allow them to become prey for the Nazis.
When her husband doesn’t come home one day, Ariella realises that the only way she can ensure her Jewish children’s safety is to avail of the Kindertransport, but can she bear to let them go?
A thousand miles away, Elizabeth Klein has closed herself off from the world. Losing her husband on the last day of the Great War, and her child months later, she cannot, will not, love again. It hurts too much.
But she is all Liesl and Erich Bannon have.
Thrown together in the wild countryside of Northern Ireland, Elizabeth and the Bannon children discover that life in the country is anything but tranquil. Danger and intrigue lurk everywhere, and some people are not what they seem.
From the streets of wartime Berlin, to the bombed out city of Liverpool, and finally resting in the lush valleys of the Ards Penisula, The Star and The Shamrock from USA Today bestselling author Jean Grainger, is unputdownable.
USA Today bestselling author Jean Grainger has done it again.
One Irish house, two very different families, and a war that changed everything.
Robinswood Estate, County Waterford, Ireland. 1946.
Years of neglect and abandonment have left the family seat of the Keneficks almost derelict, but the new Lord Kenefick and his charming young wife Kate, are determined to breathe life into the old house once more.
The war is over and they have survived, so now they must set about making a bright future for themselves and their family. But the shadows of the past are ever lurking, and there are many who are not willing to see the new Lady Kenefick as anything more than the housekeeper's daughter.
Kate’s family, the Murphys, find themselves once more, inextricably entwined with both the Keneficks and Robinswood, but this time everything is different. Or at least they hope it is.
The legacy of the war cannot be erased, and the events of those fateful years will not be forgotten. Can Robinswood provide a haven for those who need it, or are the scars of the past too deep?
Return to Robinswood is the second book in The Robinswood Story.
What reviewers are saying:
'Grainger manages to seamlessly weave a rich history, a beautiful landscape and characters you care deeply about into a rattling good story that will leave you hungry for more.'
'I love Jean Grainger novels, I feel like I'm actually there, in Ireland with people I care about so much. She has a rare gift.'
'You know those books you read slowly towards the end, to make them last? Jean Grainger books are like that.'
Erich Bannon is happy in the small Irish village he has thought of as home since he arrived as a terrified, traumatised seven year old, one of the last Jewish children to escape Berlin in 1939. Now at twenty-three, it feels like all of his friends are drawn to The Promised Land, and he can understand why, but Israel is not for him. One by one, they leave, and Erich is bereft.
He feels lost but a chance encounter with an Irish Catholic girl gives him hope. All he and Róisín want is to be allowed to love each other but the traditions and rules of their backgrounds forbid it.
By the time he learns that Róisín wasn’t honest with him about her family and what kind of people they really are, it is too late and he finds himself unwittingly embroiled in a dangerous world from which there seems to be no escape.
When Róisín disappears, events take a sinister turn and Erich wonders if their relationship really was all he thought it was.. Reluctant to place his family in danger, he has to solve his problems alone, something he’s never had to do before.
From rural Ireland, to the glitz of 1950’s America, from the orange groves of Israel to the dark streets of post-war Liverpool, The World Starts Anew, is the fourth book in the best-selling Star and the Shamrock series.
Ariella Bannon is being hunted. Someone is determined to betray her as a Jew, but she has survived against incredible odds, and the end is in sight. She will be reunited with her precious children, no matter what it takes.
Meanwhile, Liesl and Erich have found a home in Ireland away from the chaos of war-ravaged Europe. As the dark news of what has happened to the Jews filters through, they are torn - love for their mother and their home on one hand, and the profound sense of peace and belonging they have in Ballycreggan on the other. Like all of the other children who escaped Nazi territory on the Kindertransport, they must wait to hear the fate of their loved ones.
For their foster parents, Elizabeth and Daniel, their dearest wish, that Ariella would survive the war, is also their deepest fear. Would her return mean the loss of the children they have come to think of as their own?
As the Third Reich crumbles under relentless Allied bombs, Ariella is careful, but Berlin is a very dangerous place to be, and somebody knows she survived. Can she take one last enormous risk to be reunited with Liesl and Erich or will her betrayer see her finally captured?
The Emerald Horizon is the long awaited sequel to the best-seller, The Star and the Shamrock.
Robinswood Estate, County Waterford, 1950
Three sisters, the three men that love them, and a house that could consume them all.
Assuming their roles as the new Lord and Lady Kenefick and returning to Robinswood with the plan to drag it back from the brink of dereliction, is taking its toll on Kate and Sam. With a young family to raise, a very limited budget and only Kate’s parents to help, the task seems insurmountable.
Kate’s eldest sister Eve and her husband Bartley have found happiness in each other after some dark years, but when a face from the past appears, it seems that everything they have worked so hard to create is threatened.
Aisling, the middle sister, is being evasive and the family suspect something is very wrong. On the face of it, she has it all, a lovely husband, a comfortable house and a supportive family, but she is in deep trouble, and nobody can even guess at the real reason why.
Meanwhile Lady Lillian, Sam’s sister, is useless and arrogant, refusing to accept that things have changed and that her title is not going to get her what she wants, least of all from her husband Beau.
In the midst of it all Dermot and Isabella Murphy try their best to maintain a life and a home for their family, but the trials and tribulations of life at Robinswood might just tear them all apart. .
Liesl Bannon has never felt like she was truly at home anywhere, not since her mother placed her and her brother Erich on the last Kindertransport out of Berlin in 1939. She’d been so much more fortunate than most Jews, saved from the horrors of the Nazi regime. Being adopted by Elizabeth and Daniel Lieber meant she and Erich spent the war in Northern Ireland, safe and loved, but Liesl always knew something was missing.
When an opportunity to return to Berlin to represent her university presents itself, she is so torn. Should she go back to the city that rejected her and her family, would it be too harrowing, or would it feel like home?
In Berlin, a chance encounter with an old family friend sparked emotions for Liesl that she’d suppressed since she was a child. She finds herself desperately wanting to go back to those carefree days before Hitler, when life made sense, but why was her family so set against her return? Was it because they were worried about her as they claimed, or was there a darker, more sinister reason?
The Hard Way Home is the heart wrenching conclusion to the best-selling Star and the Shamrock series.
Two people on the run. An Irish bus tour, and a story you'll never forget.
USA TODAY BEST SELLING AUTHOR TAKES YOU TO IRELAND.
A tranquil Irish vacation, music, scenery, food... but someone on this tour has a secret he's desperate to keep concealed.
Sequel to the #1 Bestseller, The Tour.
When a shadowy couple turn up on Conor O’Shea’s grand tour of Ireland, the tranquility of Ireland’s landscape acts as a shelter against the stormy reality of the life they left behind.
On the run from a notorious mob boss, this mysterious couple flees the U.S. in search of sanctuary on the shores of the Emerald Isle, hoping to blend in with the tourists. In their wake lies a mafia family’s secrets and a scarred priest torn between his duty to the cloth and to the truth.
Intriguing and uniquely consuming, Father Declan Sullivan’s tale of destiny and duty lies at the feet of those he has betrayed. Can distance and deliverance save the innocent in their desperate pursuit for peace, or will evil catch up to them all?
In Safe at the Edge of the World, author Jean Grainger captures the soothing beauty of Ireland in the lives of those fleeing a criminal bent on revenge.
A childless widow, Elizabeth Klein never met her cousin Peter Bannon, that side of the family were never talked about, some ancient, long forgotten grudge, but when she receives a letter from his wife, begging her to take care of her children, she doesn’t hesitate.
The Star and the Shamrock trilogy tells the story of Liesl and Erich as they embark on a new and strange life. From the terrifyingly regimented streets of the Third Reich, to the bombed out streets of Liverpool, and finally settling in the lush green valleys of Northern Ireland. It is a story of the love, light and hope which can be found, even in the darkest of situations, and of the ultimate goodness of humanity.
A broken woman, New York, 2016. A fearless rebel, Dublin 1916.
And a gripping story that spans a century.
USA Today Bestselling Author Jean Grainger, wants to take you to Ireland.
During a time of great upheaval and unrest in Ireland, as men and women run to take up arms against the tyranny and occupation of the British Empire, the lives of three women are forever altered, and thereby inextricably linked over the span of a century.
Mary Doyle arrives in Dublin in 1913, doomed she fears, to a life of domestic service. Instead, however, she finds herself deeply affected by the social and political turmoil of a fledgling nation struggling for independence. Suddenly, all that was once inevitable is no longer a certainty as she is embroiled in the very heart of the Easter Rising.
Scarlett O’Hara has had many hurdles to cross in her life, not least her name. A successful political correspondent, she finds herself at a crossroads when one error of judgement jeopardises everything she has worked so hard to overcome and achieve. In the process of rebuilding her life, Scarlett faces the difficult and ultimate choice of starting all over again.
At ninety-three years old, Eileen Chiarello thought her time for adventure and wonder was over, before a chance meeting with Scarlett draws her back to Ireland, the land her parents fought for and loved so passionately. Now, at the end of her life, Eileen has the opportunity to fulfil a promise she never thought she could.
Historically sweeping and beautifully written, Shadow of a Century draws a circle around the Irish Rebellion and carefully traces the magnitude of its significance against the backdrop of three women’s lives across history.
Described by reviewers as ‘so much more than an Irish love story,’ and another said ‘Jean Grainger’s story telling is so enthralling I gave up sleep.’
Is there ever a sacrifice that is too great, when the stakes are so high?