Following the success of the first two books in her ‘Lives’ series – ‘Lives Apart’ and ‘Lives without End’, Dublin author Anne McLoughlin recently celebrated the publication of the third and final book in the family saga trilogy ‘Lives Reunited’. Covid restrictions prevented Anne from celebrating her first two novels but she was only delighted to officially launch the third book and final sequel in the series.
Raised on Woodbine Avenue, Booterstown, Ann photographed above, later moved only minutes away to Seamount, and then to Wexford. Having worked for decades for RTÉ in television production, she claims she always did her bit for the environment and either cycled or walked during her 30 years with the national broadcaster.
The trilogy was inspired by research into her own family tree which led her to Darragh in Co Clare, the home of her great-grandmother, Bridget O’Keeffe and her extended ancestral family.
One of these ancestors was Michael O’Keeffe, Bridget’s brother, who in the late 1800s emigrated to America and opened a grocery store, and being something of an ambitious entrepreneur, amalgamated with other stores over the following years and ended up the founder and president of over a 1,600 strong grocery chain along the east coast of America. Many of the relatives followed him and he employed them in his businesses, but contact had more or less been lost with the descendants, until Anne began her research.
It took a while to find the first US lead, but having made contact with one of the descendants, Anne could put together a compilation of the family tree with old family photos, supplied by the O’Keeffe branches both in Ireland and the USA. And then, she made the trip to meet them in Boston and Santa Barbara.
On completion of that project, she decided to pursue a long held ambition to try her hand at writing a novel; armed with foundations from her own family saga, she decided to create a fictional family for her series of novels.
Having already been highly commended in the Colm Toibin International short story competition in the Wexford Literary Festival, a publishing deal with Poolbeg Press resulted following her success in a ‘Meet the Publisher’ competition in the same festival.
The first two books in the trilogy ‘Lives Apart’ and ‘Lives Without End’ received rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – with the latter achieving Amazon No.1 New Release in History of US Immigration.
Reviews included: “. . . a beautifully written, evocative story of that time. It tells of an Ireland long gone, capturing memories of rural Ireland..”
“With scenes like the reciting of the rosary at a village wake, the quiet night-time atmosphere of the lambing shed, she manages to bring life in rural Ireland alive.”
“The writing style brings you easily into the heads of the different characters, and the story paints the drama of individual lives onto a canvas of great historical events… this writer knows how to paint colour pictures!”
“The descriptive passages throughout the book are stunning.”
While interlinked, as families by their very nature are, each book is a stand-alone, and like her previous books, the final novel in the series, is set against a backdrop of major historical events and a dilemma. All her life Dorothy, has hidden an unmentionable secret. Everyone has their suspicions but nobody can give voice to them. Should she reveal it and destroy the family, or stay silent?
‘Lives Apart’ is available in bookshops, while ‘Lives Without End’ and ‘Lives Reunited’ are available in paperback or eBooks through Amazon.