Title: The Dunnes of Brittas: An Irish Family’s Saga of Endurance
Author: Kevin Akers
Genre: Historical Fiction, Irish Historical Fiction
In the grand storytelling tradition of Anthony Trollope, Leon Uris and Colleen McCullough, comes The Dunnes of Brittas, a sweeping historical saga beginning in an aristocratic yet fragile Ireland. The illustrious and ancient Dunne family ruled over land in the heart of Ireland since time immemorial. General Edward Dunne, the clan chieftain, and his family lived in the manor house known as Brittas. His estate agent and cousin Peter Dunne raised his brood in the servant’s wing. These two related yet very separate branches struggle to secure their futures during the country’s darkest, most formidable years. As Ireland is crumbling, the West is rising in golden sunshine. The novel follows the Dunnes to Antebellum New Orleans, South America and finally to San Francisco where they struggle to create their own family dynasties. Sharing in each other’s triumphs and tragedies, they finally discover that their strength doesn’t derive from their separate branches but their common roots. Rich with historical detail and memorable characters, the novel is loosely narrated by Aunt Lucy who writes to her niece: “My hope is that just maybe Sarafrances will appreciate how many careful plans, impulsive decisions and MIRACLES of the past it took for her to have the kind of life she now enjoys.”
A sweeping period piece covering one family's story from near royalty in Ireland to their attempts at the American version - wealth. The Dunnes of Brittas is a wonderfully researched novel that accurately portrays life in Ireland in the early 19th century and life in young America. It is eerie how exact the descriptions of life in New Orleans and San Francisco are. Kudos to the author for his exacting work putting this novel together.
In terms of storyline, who doesn't like a well-written soap opera? This could be As The Shillelagh Turns or Days of our Shamrock. My two favorite characters are Bridget and Kitty. The two of them are wonderful genuine people in a sea of what can be best described as rotters.
The Dunnes of Brittas did make me have to google the dictionary definition of rotter and it is bang-on for at least 85% of that clan. To be fair, James and his brother are no more villainous than many of the soulless capitalists of 19th century America.
If one ever has any questions in regards to life expectancy in the 19th century, just read this book. Death isn't just in your zip code, he is the nosy next-door neighbor.
The theme here could simply be that money doesn't buy happiness. Having money certainly doesn't mean you have class or dignity. That is as true today as it was in the late 19th century. James Dunne might have been rich, but he was a total wad. I recommend reading this book then seriously reconsider why anyone would admire someone because they have wealth.
A well-written book about the trials and life choices of one large Irish family. Fans of the work of J. Joyce will enjoy this book. A book to read to take someone away from the day-to-day life of 2021. The Dunnes of Brittas is a great pandemic read. Seeded with facts and information, The Dunnes of Brittas reads like a biography. It is hard to remember this is a fictional clan. A solid read.
My Rating: 5 stars
Buy it Now:
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PW26FRD
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08PW26FRD
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08PW26FRD
Kevin Lee Akers is an award-winning designer, illustrator and author of All Wrapped Up! Groovy Gift Wrap of the 1960s. His interest in Ireland, San Francisco and the nature of family culminates in the authorship of his first novel, The Dunnes of Brittas.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N