I’m drawn to historical fiction, and I’m a sucker for a bit of the paranormal or contemporary fantasy. I’m also a fan of Jodi McIsaac’s Thin Veil series and as well as her thriller “A Cure for Madness” (which I’m sure she wrote into a full novel after I insisted in my Amazon review that her original short story of should be so much more.) When an e-galley of her newest book Bury the Living came available on NetGalley, I pounced on it, and then brewed a cup of tea and settled in for a late night of reading.
She didn’t disappoint.
Bury the Living has a little bit of everything: Irish political history, time travel, a mischievous saint (or is she a pagan goddess), a very flawed heroine, and an interesting, creative plot. Her father murdered, her mother lost in the bottle from the pain of it, Nora was a rebellious teen who made some mistakes. These mistakes had big implications for both her and her brother as they are coerced into fighting with the IRA (the Irish Republican Army). A decade later we find her as a relief worker in the Sudan, haunted by dreams of a man she has never met and running from ghosts of her past, when she learns that a close family friend has died, and she returns to Ireland for his funeral.
The man in her dreams has begged her to go to Kildare and seek out “Brigid” – a pretty vague request. After the funeral, she gives in to curiosity, ventures off and is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland. The relic somehow sends her back in time 80 years, to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war, where she eventually meets the stranger, and then…
There is a whole lot that McIsaac balances in the book: she offers a solid foundation of the history of the Troubles before Nora magically bounces back in time. The time travel is offered straight up and with little explanation – not a lot of “woo woo” going on here, but Nora accepts the relic and the explanation with surprising lack of disbelief. You, dear reader, need to suspend your disbelief as at times the fantasy/supernatural elements seem out of place with what is going on in the rest of the story – but for me, this is the FUN of the story.
Admittedly, the story feels like it hasn’t quite settled into its pace until the time travel, and the whole concept of “if you change something in history, you change the future” had me a bit concerned for Nora. I really enjoyed the historical aspects and I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads.
Blurbs compare this to the Outlander series, but it didn’t quite hit the same notes other than they are both use time travel as a plot device. If you are a fan of the Irish mythology found in many of Nora Roberts’ novels, AND you like historical fiction, McIsaac’s Bury the Living is the perfect book for you. Bury the Living is available now in bookstores and online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.
Many thanks to publisher 47North and Netgalley for providing me with an e-galley to read in exchange for my honest review. All typos and opinions are my own. This post also includes affiliate links, which, if clicked, provide me a few pennies to support my coffee habit and costs you nothing.