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Ireland's War of Independence
In a time of war, how much would you risk to help a friend?
Young Johnny Dunne works hard at Balbriggan's Mill Hotel, but still finds time to enjoy life with his friends, Alice and Stella. Though the three come from different backgrounds - Johnny had a harsh childhood in an orphanage, Alice is the daughter of the hotel owner and Stella the daughter of the Commanding Officer at the nearby RAF Gormanston. - they're inseparable, living at the hotel and playing together in the town band.
But with the War of Independence raging, the friends face difficult decisions. Stella is pro-British, Johnny is pro-independence, and Alice is somewhere in between.
Then Johnny's secret role, spying for the IRA on the Crown forces, puts him in danger. And Stella and Alice have hard choices to make - choices that threaten their lives ...
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What Reviewers Are Saying
this is an evocative account of the dilemmas faced by those who lived through the Irish War of Independence, showcasing how differing allegiances posed problems and challenges ... Compellingly written, with great empathy and insight, this is an excellent read * Parents in Touch * a timely look at Irish history by an experienced historical novelist for children -- Irish Independent the divisions in society are perfectly mirrored in the three main characters * Irish Examiner * Gallagher engages his pre-teen readership in the historical events by personalising them through the unfolding fate of young fictional characters ... a very successful means of sparking young people's interest in the country's past * Evening Echo * Gallagher has written an historical novel for young people that is both riveting and insightful. The divisions in the social structure of early 1900's Ireland is perfectly echoed in the three young protagonists, while all three roles are portrayed with compassion and understanding, with their personalities perfectly fleshed out. The complex layers of the War of Independence, both socially and in terms of military action are revealed with a great deal of nuance and fore-thought, as each new episode brings further conflict and increasing violence. There is much here that, while historical, gives pause for thought in today's world events. Painted with great empathy, we are given a view of differing allegiances in conflict with questions of conscience; and an evocative look at the challenge of the fight for freedom. Personal, insightful and still fast-paced and very exciting. (Gallagher is one of the very best writers of historical fiction for young people. I'd also highly recommend his previous book, Arrivals.) * Fallen Star Stories * a book with a fascinating political background, and Gallagher can be applauded for managing to convey what it must be like to live in a country with such an unstable future, as his characters seem to exist in a constant state of suspense ... I definitely grew attached to the characters ... this is a stellar choice for preteens with an interest in history, with the advantage of being set in the beautiful city of Dublin, during a fascinating conflict with consequences that were felt for generations * The Bookbag * an enjoyable read, while not downplaying the real dangers. Excellent for individual or classroom reading * Children's Books Ireland Recommended Reading Guide 2017 * an Irish historical novel for pre-teens that is both riveting and insightful. Perfect for individual or classroom reading * Sunday Independent *