HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall: A Novel by…
Loading...

The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall: A Novel

by Ann O'Loughlin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
302367,255 (3.75)9
2016 (1) 2017 (1) a-ebook-fiction (1) a-ebook-prepub (1) adoption (2) books-on-kindle (1) café (1) church (1) convent (1) ebook (1) fiction (2) food (1) friendship (1) Ireland (3) ISBN-10_sorts (1) Kindle (3) kindle e-book (1) loss (1) novel (1) nuns (1) NYR (1) OML (1) orphans (1) Philomena (1) Roman (1) sisters (1) to-read (4)

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
What's It About?
n a crumbling mansion in a small Irish village in County Wicklow, two elderly sisters, Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan, live alone in Roscarbury Hall with their secrets, memories, and mutual hatred. Long estranged by a dark family tragedy, the two communicate only by terse notes. But when the sisters are threatened with bankruptcy, Ella defies Roberta’s wishes and takes matters into her own hands, putting her baking skills to good use and converting the mansion’s old ballroom into a café.

Much to Roberta’s displeasure, the café is a hit and the sisters are reluctantly drawn back into the village life they abandoned decades ago. But gossip has a long life, and Ella finds herself reliving painful memories when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, begins working at the café. As the local convent comes under scrutiny, the O’Callaghan sisters find themselves caught up in an adoption scandal that dates back to the 1960's and spreads all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

What Did I Think?
Two estranged, elderly sisters, a beautiful period home that is in need of major renovation and a lifetime of secrets. A wonderful recipe for good historical fiction. There is also the added tale of forced and hidden adoption in Ireland going back decades. It may sound like fiction, but unfortunately, it seems to be based on true events. This is an extremely mesmerizing novel...in more ways than one. The characters are drawn with compassion. Loved the Ballroom Cafe. It and its surroundings sound idyllic and "delicious". The story is one of courage, strength and changing worlds. On the other hand it was a heartbreaking story. Set in Ireland it tell the story of an American lady looking for her Irish mother after discovering she had been adopted. She traces it back to the convent for unmarried mothers and a huge can of worms is unearthed, entwining the lives of the sisters and Debbie. Great story...wonderful characters...and very emotional material. ( )
  Carol420 | Sep 4, 2017 |
When I opened the book and "visited" Roscarbury Hall for the first time, I immediately liked the place and the gardens surrounding it, but it has seen better days and it shows, inside and out. Flaky paint, blind windows, overgrown flowerbeds, dust and cobwebs in quite a few rooms (which haven't been used in years) and as mice droppings were mentioned quite a few times in the novel, I started to imagine hordes of the rodents living there. Still, it needs more than a few mice to keep me from reading a good story.

The sisters Ella and Roberta O'Callaghan, who live in the mansion, are on the brink of losing the house, as they have fallen behind with their loan repayments and the bank is threatening action. They had to find out after their parents died in a tragic accident, that their father had been overspending and left debts (gambling habits didn't help) and the upkeep of the house has been a struggle ever since.
Ella has decided to open up a café as baking is obviously her passion (her cakes sound really mouthwatering and delicious). To get her sister on board or even to just inform her of the plan is certainly difficult, as the two of them haven't spoken with each other in decades. Their only communication are written notes (often sribbled in haste and anger).
But Ella has set her mind to it and as cousin Iris agrees to help, to start off with, a few tables are set up in the drawing room. One morning Ella sees a woman lingering by the front door before opening times and she assumes, she has just come to ask about the job in the café, but turns out, Deborah Kading is just a visitor, who has come over from America on vacation.
There is an instant liking between the two and when, by accident, they meet shortly after in town again, Ella manages to persuade Debbie to work in the café during her short stay in Ireland.

Slowly but gradually we get to know Debbie's story (with flashbacks to her youth in America) and it becomes clear, that her visit to Ireland is much more than a simple vacation and we learn why Ella and Roberta have stopped talking with each other many years ago.
I have to admit, I didn't like Roberta at all at the start, and loved Ella and Debbie, but as the story evolves my viewpoint changed quite a bit. There is so much more to each of the three women, than meets the eye and you can't help but care for all three of them. That, and lots of interesting side charactes, kept me turning the pages. When the final secret is revealed, I was quite stunned.

The notes the two sisters leave for each other, I found a complete highlight and an unique idea. Particularly Roberta's "one liners" could make me angry and sad and still put a smile on my face, all at the same time. To live like that, two sisters under the same roof and not talking, is horror, loneliness and completely childish and crazy at the same time. I felt, the author brought that quite well across.

There are one or two things, I didn't like and of course, the book reminds quite a bit of Philomena, but the author managed that I felt and lived with the "three main girls" and I cared for Roscarbury Hall, too. It sounds crazy, but when the fountain in the garden finally got repaired, I felt happy and I saw myself sitting in the café and looking out of the window to see the water splashing.

The ending made me smile and cry at the sime time and yes, I enjoyed reading the book.
Just poor yourself a nice cuppa, get the hankies ready and visit The Ballroom Café. ( )
  MasterReadersBooks | May 15, 2015 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"In a crumbling mansion in a small Irish village in County Wicklow, two elderly sisters, Ella and Roberta O'Callaghan, live alone with their secrets, memories, and mutual hatred. Long estranged by a dark family tragedy, they communicate only by terse notes. But when the sisters are threatened with bankruptcy, Ella defies Roberta's wishes and takes matters into her own hands, putting her baking skills to good use and converting the mansion's old ballroom into a cafe. Much to Roberta's displeasure, the cafes a hit and the sisters are reluctantly drawn back into the village life they abandoned decades ago. But gossip has a long life, and Ella finds herself reliving painful memories when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, begins working at the cafe. As the local convent comes under scrutiny, the O'Callaghan sisters find themselves caught up in an adoption scandal that dates back to the 1960s and spreads all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Only by overcoming their enmity and facing up to the past can they face the future together--but can they finally put their differences behind them?"--… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.75)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3
3.5
4 1
4.5 2
5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,701,183 books! | Top bar: Always visible