Friday, April 1, 2016

The Wishing Boy

by Emma Maxwell McCone

Summary from GoodReads

Dublin, 1930s - political unrest between Republicans and the De Valera Government. An art exhibition takes place and contains an unusual painting entitled "The Wishing Boy". Catrin Kilpatrick, the daughter of a well-known business man, admires the unique painting and wants to buy it, but Devlin O'Farell the artist refuses to sell it. Determined to have her way, she travels to Galway where he lives, and plans to make the purchase. Little does she know, Devlin worked for Flan Maguire, the most powerful man in Galway, and Commander of the Galway IRA Brigade. She has walked into the Lion's Den, and will find herself in great danger. 

Thoughts on the Book

I got this one from BEA froAustin Macauley publishers.  I selected this one because I don't know much about Ireland and their fight for independence, and I really wanted to learn more.

My Review

This book didn't really seem to have a set plot, there were too many things going on.  There was Catrin's obsession with a painting, the artist, Devlin's struggle with his work and his past, as well as all sorts of other odd storylines.

Catrin, as a main character, was extremely unlikeable.  She was so self-entitled.  She would not take no for an answer and she pestered everyone she possibly could to get what she wanted.  I guess her strategy is to annoy everyone to the point where they just gave her what she wanted, so she could go home smug and relish in always getting her way.

Devlin on the other hand I liked very much.  He lived a hard life, but was kind and loyal.  I sympathized with him a lot, and of all characters to get a happy ending I wished it for him.

The fact that the heroine was unlikeable and the hero got the short end of the stick every single time made this difficult to get through, without a solid plot (other than Catrin trying to get what she wanted through any means necessary) the only one you had to root for was Devlin because the more you learned about him the more you pitied and rooted for him.  Even the 'character growth' moments I found to be lacking.  The whole bit with the soldier, what was the point?  To show that Catrin is unnecessarily lucky?  Her 'traumatizing' moments with him could have been so much worse.  Or was his point to show how awful the Galway IRA leader was?  We could have gotten that from a multitude of other ways.  The ending left a sour taste in my mouth because of this, reading the book was kind of pointless, Catrin got exactly what she set out for and the other characters?  Eh, nothing changed for them, they got the endings they were always going to get. 

Overall I give this book a 7/10.  It did hold my interest and it was cool to read about Ireland, but I just wish Catrin was a better character, it would have made the whole book so much better.