The best historical novels to capture the unquenchable Irish spirit of freedom

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired history teacher with 36 years of teaching experience in high school and college. I am also a passionate world traveler and for over four decades led students on overseas tours.  In 2012 (the year I retired from teaching) I released my first novel, Widder’s Landing set in Kentucky in the early 1800s. One of my main characters came from a family of Irish Catholics—and he is featured in Rebels Abroad. Ireland has always fascinated me and in my nine trips to the country, I smelled the peat fires, tasted the whiskey, listened to the music and the lyrical tales told by the tour leaders—and came to love the people.

I wrote...

Rebels Abroad

By Eddie Price,

Book cover of Rebels Abroad

What is my book about?

Passion and violence collide in a drama of epic proportions. Set in Georgian Ireland during “The Great Frost,” an age of starvation, riots, oppression, and war, Rebels Abroad teems with a vivid cast of heroes and villains. This is a tale of two men—Thomas McDonnell, master carpenter and stonemason; and Harold Marston Fitch, heir to the Viscountcy of Dermont in the County of Meath—“rebels abroad” who take diverging paths on different continents.  Both are strong-willed men separated by class, politics, and religion—inextricably linked by Brigid, Thomas’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Harold’s secret lover.  Evicted from their cottage, Thomas and Brigid seek lodgings in Dublin. As famine and riots rage, the McDonnells embark on a new life in the American colony of Maryland.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Trinity

Eddie Price Why did I love this book?

Long before traveling to Ireland, I wanted to learn all I could about those who live there. 

I have found that the best way to achieve that goal is to read historical fiction novels that present an incisive portrait of the Irish people—their often-tragic history, rich culture, traditions, and day-to-day living. The human stories bring the book to life, involving you directly in the characters’ lives. Trinity made me feel that I was living in the past, experiencing history firsthand.

By Leon Uris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trinity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leon Uris’s beloved Irish classic, available in Avon mass market.

From the acclaimed author who enthralled the world with Exodus, Battle Cry, QB VII, Topaz, and other beloved classics of twentieth-century fiction comes a sweeping and powerful epic adventure that captures the "terrible beauty" of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom. It is the electrifying story of an idealistic young Catholic rebel and the valiant and beautiful Protestant girl who defied her heritage to join his cause. It is a tale of love and danger, of triumph at an unthinkable cost—a magnificent portrait of a people divided…

Book cover of The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga

Eddie Price Why did I love this book?

To comprehend the present, one must examine the past and observe the undercurrents that forge a people and their nation. 

Rutherfurd’s Rebels of Ireland succeeds brilliantly in this endeavor. The families in this novel deal with the real historical events that shaped Irish destiny. They drew me into their lives and swept me along on a journey through time. When I finally emerged, I felt as if I had witnessed history, and lived it alongside them!

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rebels of Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Princes of Ireland, the first volume of Edward Rutherfurd’s magisterial epic of Irish history, ended with the disastrous Irish revolt of 1534 and the disappearance of the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick. The Rebels of Ireland opens with an Ireland transformed; plantation, the final step in the centuries-long English conquest of Ireland, is the order of the day, and the subjugation of the native Irish Catholic population has begun in earnest.

Edward Rutherfurd brings history to life through the tales of families whose fates rise and fall in each generation: Brothers who must choose between fidelity to their ancient…

Book cover of Chesapeake

Eddie Price Why did I love this book?

Much of Ireland’s history involves the struggle for freedom of religion—a subject of real interest to me. 

James Michener reveals England’s mistreatment of Catholics through strict laws and brute enforcement in an era known as the Protestant Ascendancy. This continued in the American colonies. 

When I read about the New World colony of Maryland, I could instantly draw comparisons—the plantation owners very much resembled the lords of English and Irish manor houses; slaves and indentured servants were treated much like the Catholic underclass in the Old World.

I am a historian, and this book opened a new window into the past.

By James A. Michener,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chesapeake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The central scene of Michener's historical novel is that section of Maryland's Eastern shore, hardly more than 10 miles square. To this point come the founders of families that will dominate the story.

Book cover of A Place Called Freedom

Eddie Price Why did I love this book?

A Place Called Freedom attracted me instantly because of its multiple settings (Scotland, London, and Virginia) and the theme of ordinary people struggling against adversity. 

The novel provides vivid insight into governmental repression of religion and the denial of basic human rights. As a historian, I enjoy reading historical fiction. Follett is a master of his craft, blending human interest stories with accurate history. Through his characters, he shows how people lived and reacted to historical events.

A Place Called Freedom transports the reader into the years prior to the American Revolution, and his vivid geographical descriptions made me feel like “I was there!”  

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Place Called Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in an era of turbulent social changes on both sides of the Atlantic, A Place Called Freedom is a magnificent historical fiction novel from the undisputed master of suspense and drama, Ken Follett.

A Life of Poverty
Scotland, 1767. Mack McAsh is a slave by birth, destined for a cruel and harsh life as a miner. But as a man of principles and courage, he has the strength to stand up for what he believes in, only to be labelled as a rebel and enemy of the state.

A Life of Wealth
Life feels just as constrained for rebellious…

Book cover of Ireland

Eddie Price Why did I love this book?

Perhaps no book has moved me more than Ireland by Frank Delaney. 

Through a series of tales told by an itinerant storyteller the author paints a series of haunting, vivid portraits of Irish history. Each story stands alone, but over the course of three nights of story-telling, the pieces of this mosaic come together, revealing a clearer history than most history books could hope to present. 

Delaney reaches deeper historical facts and allows a rare glimpse into how people felt and what they believed. I felt that I was listening to the storyteller, rather than reading words. This presents the Irish people in a unique and engaging light.

By Frank Delaney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced and mysterious at a house in the Irish countryside. By the November fireside he begins to tell the story of this extraordinary land. One of his listeners, a nine-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves, he devotes his life to finding him again. It is a search that uncovers both passions and mysteries, in his own life as well as the old man's, and their solving becomes the thrilling climax to this tale. But the life of this boy is more than just his…

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Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku at summer’s end. But Rafi and Roxana grow too fond of each other to let go easily, and worse still, they soon become enmeshed in a much larger storm of prejudice and violence between fae and humans.

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…

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