Second Irish novel for Brackley writer

Author Dennis Carey with his second book An Untilled Field set in 1880's Country Mayo NNL-160123-192746009
Author Dennis Carey with his second book An Untilled Field set in 1880's Country Mayo NNL-160123-192746009

A Brackley author has penned a pertinent historical story of the eviction of a young Irish family in the 1870s.

An Untilled Field by Dennis Carey is set in County Mayo in the west of Ireland, during the lead-up to the Irish Land Wars of the 1880s.

The story is about 16-year-old Liam Walshe’s family who are evicted from their home.

Mr Carey, who lives in Hans Apel Drive, said: “Irish history is a rich source of fascinating stories. By the late 1870s, Ireland was recovering from the catastrophe of the mid-1840s but a number of factors caused a recurrence of agricultural difficulties. The landowners held all the power, the tenant farmers and their families paid the price.”

In the story, Liam’s parents are arrested by the Royal Irish Constabulary and he is left destitute and homeless and caring for his sickly, four-year-old brother, Aiden.

Liam forms a plan, just as his father taught him to: keep his brother alive, find his parents, and come back to avenge his family’s eviction.

Although a fictional novel, the story is based on true events and set on and around the Farmhill Estate that belonged to Harriet Gardiner who Mr Carey draws on some of her scandalous antics to bring the history of this period to life.

He has been writing full-time since leaving further education in 2014, and his first book called The Ditcher is also set in Ireland.

Mr Carey said: “This is a fascinating era to write about. For many, conditions were harsh and people acted in ways that would be unacceptable today in order to survive. I like writing strong female

characters, be they good or bad, and there are a number in the book.

“I particularly enjoyed working with Gardiner. I make use of her drinking, her inclination to wield firearms and her drive to achieve what she wanted, specifically the eviction of tenants unwilling or unable to pay the rent she demanded.”

He will sign copies of the Untilled Field in Brackley Library on March 12 from 10am and Middleton Cheney Library on March 23 from 3pm. It is available to buy from Brackley’s Old Hall Bookshop in the Market Place.