Only With Blood - Therese Down

4 Stars!

Jack Flynn, strong and aggressive but slowly dying of tuberculosis on his farm in Tipperary in the Republic of Ireland, decides to acquire--purchase--a young wife who can bear him sons to inherit his family's land. His choice, Caitlin Spillane, is less than half his age, attractive and intelligent, and resents bitterly the obedience that is forced upon her.

When Donal Kelly, a young firebrand, a supporter of the IRA, arrives in the village, he and Caitlin are drawn together in their detestation of Flynn. Flynn, traumatized by his own insurgent IRA experiences twenty years earlier, is secretly convinced that Eamonn de Valera's more diplomatic, peaceful approach to Ireland's problems is the only sane one.

Could Caitlin be won for the cause, and leave her unloved husband?

A novel set against the struggle for the heart of Ireland in the Second World War, when the IRA notoriously sought assistance from the Nazis, Only with Blood explores flawed characters placed in extraordinary situations.

Therese Down is currently working as the Head of English at a High School in England and has been teaching English Literature and Language for over twenty years in a range of schools and colleges. She holds a MA in Employment Law and is experienced in personnel management. 

This book was very interesting. I have read a few books about Ireland's history but none about the IRA. I have to admit though, parts of it were slow for me, but the other parts were excellent and more than made up for it. This story has so many stories within it at times I compared it to a spider web tangling every which way and then finally coming together beautifully to make this intricate masterpiece! I kept thinking "Why are we going in this direction?" only to later realize "Oh, that's why!" Just keep reading, it all makes sense.

Character development was good but I didn't really like any of the characters! LOL  
I will start with Caitlin - what a selfish, hard as nails, unfeeling, brat! Yep, that about sums her up. I found it very hard to like her, so I didn't. But I loved reading about her! For me she was like this bad addiction.
Donal - Young, handsome, very intelligent, but I didn't like him either. I liked his passion, his love for Caitlin. I just didn't like the underhanded, sneaky way he went about it. I never did trust him, even up to the end.
Caitlin's parents and sister - what horrible people! This was the only thing I truly felt sorry for Caitlin about was the fact that she was born into this retched family! I know that parents back then did "sell off" their daughters into marriage even here in America, but that doesn't make it right.
Jack - Mean, old (and I love how they think mid 40's is old! LOL), sick, demanding, alone... but... he was my favorite! He was the only one I truly liked! I knew there was more to him than meets the eye. His character comes to a peak and finally gets the recognition it deserves at the wonderful end.

That brings me to the end. This book has, what I call, a non-ending. Unless there is going to be a book two??? It kinda leaves you hanging. And usually I hate endings like this. But - oddly enough, I was fully satisfied! I thought this was the perfect ending for a book like this.

Thank you Kregel Publications for sending me this book for my honest review!

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE


  1. I think you liked this book more than I did, but we both had very similar thoughts!


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