The Rachel Incident
By Caroline O’Donoghue

In Cork City, Ireland in the 2010s, Rachel is completing her senior year of English literature at the local college. The economy is struggling terribly and so are her parents. Her middle class father, a dentist, is devastated that he cannot pay the fees for Rachel’s schooling. She is smart, hardworking and figures out a way to make ends meet by getting a job. At the local bookstore she meets James Devlin, a homosexual deeply hidden in the closet with a big beautiful smile and charming personality. They become flatmates and spend every waking moment of their free time together. Rachel and James both love to work at the bookshop and run wild through the local pubs until late at night, all the while trying not to freeze to death throughout the brutal Irish winter. Rachel’s secret crush on her professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, is the beginning of a rollercoaster ride that changes her life forever. Navigating her way through the economic recession of 2008 and grappling with issues surrounding gay rights and abortion, Rachel’s intellect and free spirit persist as she embarks on a relentless quest for friendship, romance and a future beyond her wildest dreams.

Strange Sally Diamond
By Liz Nugent

“Put me out with the bins,” her father said. Well, Sally didn’t know that he didn’t actually mean it. When her ill father doesn’t wake one morning, Sally does just that. But then she remembers her father incinerated the family’s organic trash, so she quietly makes a fire in the field and proceeds to burn his body. It doesn’t take long for the small Irish village to catch wind of her actions and the local police to knock on the door. Sally Diamond is painfully honest and literal while answering their questions with the help of Angela, the family physician who worked closely with her mother. After this ordeal, Angela is determined to get Sally out of the house and into the world. She struggles socially, especially sensitive to noise levels and crowds. Her father, a former psychiatrist, believed Sally could choose isolation and rarely forced Sally out of her comfort zone. Now at 43, with both parents deceased, it’s time for Sally to overcome her fears. One day Sally receives a package from a stranger on the other side of the world. After all these years, the unfathomable truth of Sally’s childhood comes out of the dark shadows.

By John Boyne

When Vanessa Carvin arrives on a remote island off of Ireland, the first thing she does is change her name to Willow Hale. A fresh start in her self-imposed exile is a way of escaping her past and the vicious gossip that has tormented her for the past year in Dublin. Her ex-husband is in prison where he belongs, her eldest daughter has tragically passed away and her youngest daughter will not respond with more than a cryptic one-word text message. Anyone she considered a friend is long gone from her life. Willow Hale is inextricably alone and the isolated, sparsely-furnished rustic cottage she rents matches her mood, as does this odd little village she has chosen. The question of guilt lies heavy on her heart, and self-punishment is her only logical solution to the pain that sears through her body day and night. Only Willow can ultimately determine if a way forward will ever be possible. A sweeping journey of deep soul searching, “Water” is filled with grief, family, faith and ultimately hope. This mesmerizing novella is only the first of what will be a four-part series.

#WORTHWATCHING: A book editor is asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding in Ireland. The problem: She is in love with the groom. One wish and her world is turned upside down. You can check out this new romantic comedy, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, on Netflix.

Karen Newfield
Karen Newfield is first and foremost a reader, she has reviewed hundreds of books on her blog And, more recently, this new Keys resident has also begun writing.