For anybody who knows West Cork, this gem of a book will take them deeper into its past, and help perhaps to understand a bit more about the present. This is live history, as well as a fascinating and touching personal memoir, and not just a nostalgia trip - and it's real, a wonderful complement to the fictional works of Somerville and Ross. This journal is all the more poignant, given that Castlefreke was burnt in 1910, restored by 1913, and then suddenly sold in 1921 by her son John, the 10th Earl, who departed to Kenya where he became a noted member of the Happy Valley set (White Mischief). More bizarre still, a descendant has recently bought the wreck of Castlefreke and is lovingly restoring it once more. There is a certain amount in this book about fairies, and the beliefs of the old countrry people at that time, and the story of the great house is surely a fairy story in its own right. Mary Carbery, widowed at a tragically early age and confronted with the task of running this great house and estate in deepest rural SW Ireland, shines off the pages as a woman of courage, empathy and intelligence. It's a slim volume, but full of treasure.