Monday, July 05, 2021

An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd


First Lines: Somerset, June 1919. We had finished our supper and were taking our tea in my mother's morning room.
If you're British, Ireland is not the best place to be in 1919 due to the bloody Easter Uprising in 1916. Anyone who fought on the British side during World War I is now considered a traitor. All British nurse Eileen Flynn and former British soldier Michael Sullivan want is to be married in the small village where Eileen grew up. To make the wedding perfect, Eileen wants British nurse Bess Crawford and Michael's former commanding officer to stand up with them. 
Against all advice, Bess keeps her promise to Eileen and goes to Ireland. When Bess arrives, she learns that even Eileen's grandmother is against the marriage, and Eileen's only protector is her cousin Terrance, a hero of the Rising who's still being hunted by the British. What's even more shocking is that Michael has disappeared, and although many people are searching for him, no one can find the missing groom.

Eileen begs for her help, but how can Bess help her find Michael when she is in a strange land full of people who hate her simply because she's British? But if there's one thing Bess knows how to do, it's how to keep a promise and do her duty. With an Irish outlaw and a man wanted for murder to help her, she's determined to find Michael Sullivan. She just hopes that Michael will still be alive.


In An Irish Hostage, the writing team known as Charles Todd shows us how explosive matters were in Ireland after the end of World War I. There may not be bombs and gunfire, but Bess is in just as much danger as she was when she was nursing in aid stations at the front lines in France. An Irish Hostage is steeped in tension, in hatred, in claustrophobia. Bess is reduced to doing a lot of sneaking around after dark, and the only reason why she's (usually) left alone is because this is a small, isolated village with no doctor, and her nursing skills come in handy.

This is also a book about the futility of unreasoning hatred and grief, so much so that the book can be difficult to read at times. But it's also a book about a woman who's had four years of making her own decisions and living her own life now being expected to return to the role of dutiful daughter now that the war is over. Bess Crawford knows that there's no way she can return to that life. As this series progresses, it will be interesting to see the life she makes for herself.

The bright spot that made me exclaim "It's about time!" is that-- after how many books now?-- the penny finally drops for Bess concerning Simon Brandon. It's something that all the fans of this series have been waiting for so long that, no matter what the main plot of the next book is, we're all going to want to know what's next for Bess concerning the more personal side of her life. 

An Irish Hostage brings readers right into the heart of the Irish fight for independence with all its danger and high emotion, and it has an escape scene that will have readers at the edge of their seats. I can't wait for the next book.
An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd
eISBN: 9780062859884
William Morrow © 2021
eBook, 336 pages
Historical Mystery, #12 Bess Crawford mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. I really like it when an author explores a part of history that isn't always in the textbooks, Cathy. The Todd writing team does a really effective job, I think, of exploring those lesser-known parts of history, like the Irish reaction to the English after 1916. And of course, they do create a solid plot, too!

  2. This covers a portion of Irish history, and recent history, at that, that I know very little about. I hadn't realized either that Charles Todd was a team name rather than that of an individual. Love the cover art, too. This one has a lot going for it.

    1. Yes, it does. This mother-son writing team does an excellent job.

  3. Oy, my comment in the latest review comments section should have been here. Oops.


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