What reviewers and readers say about A GOOD CONFESSION
“Bridget Whelan writes in the great Irish tradition of storytelling. A Good Confession is an unputdownable, compelling love story about the conflict between passion and duty” – MIRIAM STOPPARD Daily Mirror Columnist
“Bridget Whelan chose the vibrant London-Irish community during the 60s as the backdrop to her first novel A Good Confession. A moving, humourous and subtle book whose central theme is the forbidden love between struggling widow and single mother Cathleen and a young priest, Father Jerry, it has struck a chord with many readers.”THE IRISH WORLD
“This delightful, read-at-one-go novel provides a perfect snapshot of life in rural Ireland in the early 60’s and also a poignant view of the difficulties faced by Irish migrants coming to London in search of work…Whelan is a very skilful writer; her characterisation is masterful and she has captured the cadences of Irish speech perfectly. Cathleen’s mother, Kitty, is a delight, not least because of her colourful turn of phrase. But the real power is in her depiction of the less admirable characters. The hypocritical headmistress of the girls’ school will live with me for some time and the hideous Thady is a superb creation. The author, I note, is a prize winning short story writer and that doesn’t surprise me in the least. This novel has the tight structure of a short story with not a single paragraph wasted and it is this that makes it such a page turner….” TRIPFICTION
“Fans of heartwarming romances will enjoy Whelan’s tragic love story set in 1960s England and Ireland. When Cathleen Brogan’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left impoverished, with two young daughters to raise. But the warm empathy of Father Jerry, a distant cousin revered by Cathleen’s family for his success in the church, helps at least a little. But as she sees more of Father Jerry, Cathleen realizes she feels more than friendship for him. She is falling in love with a Catholic priest. Even while knowing any relationship is doomed, Cathleen can’t stop her passionate feelings and doesn’t know whether to be thrilled or shocked when Jerry confesses he feels the same about her. A chance return to Ireland gives the pair a chance to be together, but can their forbidden love survive the harsh judgment of the church, their families, friends, and society? Whelan has created a richly textured plot with pathos, humor and charm, flawed but likable characters, and an ending that, though not exactly happy, is at least satisfying. An excellent read for romance fans.” BOOKLIST USA
At first I thought it was going to be a simple story. But, WOW, the tension really did build up. I kept getting worried. First Geraldine’s escape from the bull, then Thady spying in the haystack and the murder. When I recovered from all of that I became even more worried about Cathleen’s decision. What was also fantastic was that you caught life in rural Ireland and the Irish community in London so accurately. My four grandparents all came from West Cork which is next door to Kerry so my memory of my holidays there was very similar to what you described.
It was a wonderful story and I loved all the people and the places and I felt I was there watching it all happen around me.
From the beginning Bridget’s novel evokes a time, a place and a social phenomenon: Irish immigrants in London in the 1950s. The only phone people have access to belongs to a kindly shop owner and the phone is not just a theme, period setting or plot device but also a barometer of the main relationship in the novel, but I won’t spoil the end by saying what that barometer says. The main character, Cathleen, has to face up to bullies and strong characters to protect herself and her family and when one of her daughters seems to be in the same predicament the reader assumes it’s a simple reflection of the protagonist’s situation until you discover different.It’s not just a story for anyone with Irish connexions; it will give all readers an insight into a time and a world which signified a big change in Britain, Ireland and the Catholic church.
I just started reading the book and I am hooked! It really is “unputdownable”, the cover doesn’t lie. In fact you have me bawling already and I am only at chapter 7… I see “A Good Confession -the movie” in the horizon… And I am already looking forward to your next offering! Anja, London
… a real page turner, with complex characters I cared about from page one right through to your cracking ending. I loved the descriptions of the small things that made a hard life beautiful – flowers, sweeties, songs – and learned a lot about the role of the church, school, the construction trade, and women’s work in the London Irish community. Naomi, Brighton
Just love it. The characters, the setting – all so clear and vibrant, all down to the beautiful, flowing, easy to read and highly descriptive text Sue, Norfolk
I finished the book last night and really enjoyed it – some lovely touches like the lion’s head door knocker, and Father Jerry’s first experience of nylon stockings……but poor old Reg!
I’ve just finished A Good Confession and what a hugely satisfying read it was. Set in the late nineteen fifties/early sixties, the story centres around the forbidden relationship between a Catholic priest and a young widowed mother, both risking condemnation if ever their secret should be discovered. Switching between the sooty streets of London and the tranquil beauty of Ireland, the story is evocative of its era, cleverly weaving in a back-story of the Irish community and Irish immigrants working to rebuild the city, whilst trying to build some sort of life away from family and home. The characters are beautifully portrayed, the fearsome headmistress ~ put neatly in her place by the heroine, and Kitty, the heroine’s mother, who talks as she finds, to name but two. The priest, Father Jerry, both in vocation and emotion, is totally believable. Despite his community’s adulation, we soon come to realise he is mortal and hurts just like any other man. Subtle humour, combined with attention to detail, make this a book I would highly recommend. Personally, I found it a welcome escape from a life that can sometimes be a little too fast-paced.