Love in the Shadows – Maggie Doolin

Rating: 3 out of 5.
3.5 stars

A solid novella set in Ireland following Meg from her final year of high school through to the vote on the marriage equality act in 2015. I often find that when I’m reading a novella I wish it was longer – but this one is done well in that it covers the subject manner in just the right amount of detail, but provides a clear narrative so there’s nothing else to wish for.

We open with Meg at high school, where she’s undertaking her Leaving year. She realises that she has a crush on her high school English teacher – leading her to explore how she feels about girls in general. Whilst enjoy isn’t the right word because there’s a lot of introspection on the topic of boys and feelings, I thought this section was done really well.

As the book centres on Meg we follow her through leaving school, to her first job as an English teacher herself. She’s had the opportunity to explore her sexuality at college, but running into someone from her past causes her to look at the realities of being a lesbian in Ireland, working at a Catholic school. Again the feelings side of this is explored really well.

The parts of the book I liked the most were the interactions. I felt they gave a realistic depiction of how it must have felt living in Ireland during this time period (I hope anyway).

It does have a happy ending and I’d recommend to anyone looking for an interesting narrative spanning a large number of years and how a couple grows, whether together or not.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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