The Watch House by Bernie McGill
Published: 10th August 2017
Publisher: Tinder Press
In the vein of Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, THE WATCH HOUSE by Bernie McGill is the story of the modern world arriving on Rathlin, a remote Irish island, at the very end of the nineteenth century, with dramatic consequences for a young woman named Nuala.
As the twentieth century dawns on the island of Rathlin, a place ravaged by storms and haunted by past tragedies, Nuala Byrne is faced with a difficult decision. Abandoned by her family for the new world, she receives a proposal from the island’s aging tailor. For the price of a roof over her head, she accepts.
Meanwhile the island is alive with gossip about the strangers who have arrived from the mainland, armed with mysterious equipment which can reportedly steal a person’s words and transmit them through thin air. When Nuala is sent to cook for these men – engineers, who have been sent to Rathlin by Marconi to conduct experiments in the use of wireless telegraphy – she encounters an Italian named Gabriel, who offers her the chance to equip herself with new skills and knowledge. As her friendship with Gabriel opens up horizons beyond the rocky and treacherous cliffs of her island home, Nuala begins to realise that her deal with the tailor was a bargain she should never have struck.
Thank you to Tinder Press and the author for the chance to read and review this book, and to be taking part in the blog tour!! With very limited places available, I definitely feel privileged!! And so close to publication day as well!!!
This book.. Wow. What can I say about it?? I just don’t know where to begin. It’s just heart-breakingly beautiful. It’s stunning. I’ll probably keep repeating that word.
Nuala is left alone, after her family moves to a new country and her grandparents pass away. She gets an offer of marriage, and thinking it’s the right thing she accepts. She’s innocent, naive, and wants love. I liked Nuala. She had a toughness about her, she knows what she wants. Marconi’s men open up this whole new world for her, the possibilities and the chance of love. With nothing to lose, we see her open up to Gabriel, deal with the pain of not having the life she wants, the hurt that is caused to her. Her ending, while not very happy, does have a happiness to it. Her heartbreak and her pain is put across in a way that you feel everything she feels.
I will be honest, I’m really struggling with finding what I want to say about The Watch House. It’s stuck with me for a few days and I still cannot think of the words to describe how beautiful this book is. The love, the pain, the loss, the loneliness. You feel it alongside her and her family, her friends. The writing is stunning, the island is stunning, everything is stunning. Its heart breaking yet bursting full of love.
I give this book 5/5 for the writing, and only the writing. I liked the characters obviously but I could just reread it for how it is written. It’s rare for me to come across like this, it’s a true gem.