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90 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Bessie Lawless, recently widowed and routinely brazen...
Christina McKenna's `The Misremembered Man' is my favourite book of 2013 so far, and I was really pleased to get my hands a copy of her new release.

Bessie Lawless is `The Disenchanted Widow' of the title, her husband Packie having recently died in a car accident after taking part in a robbery and failing to disclose the location of the loot either to Bessie or...
Published on 5 May 2013 by Denise4891

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light hearted fun
A light fun read with some witty one liners. Kept me engaged enough and I loved references to the period in time, brought back memories! My favourite line "she was that plain looking not even the tide would take her out!"
Published 20 months ago by Ros


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90 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Bessie Lawless, recently widowed and routinely brazen..., 5 May 2013
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Paperback)
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Christina McKenna's `The Misremembered Man' is my favourite book of 2013 so far, and I was really pleased to get my hands a copy of her new release.

Bessie Lawless is `The Disenchanted Widow' of the title, her husband Packie having recently died in a car accident after taking part in a robbery and failing to disclose the location of the loot either to Bessie or his IRA bosses. Bessie goes on the run in a bid to escape one particularly brutal terrorist enforcer (known as `The Dentist' for reasons which soon become obvious), and to raise funds for her escape to `Amerikay' with her nine year old son Herkie. Her plans are thwarted when their car breaks down in the sleepy backwater Tailorstown, but a job as housekeeper to the local priest proves to be not quite as dull as she first anticipated.

The book is set in Northern Ireland in 1981 and, although there's mention of IRA atrocities and the deaths of the hunger strikers etc, this is pretty much background information and Tailorstown itself is relatively untouched by The Troubles (or is it?). Streetwise Bessie causes quite a stir amongst the locals with her `Merlin Monroe' hairstyle and McKenna's gift for lyrical banter and colourful characterisation is very much in evidence. Herkie's blend of tough city-kid cynicism and youthful innocence is adorable and the narrative is laugh-out-loud funny in places. I didn't experience the same tug-at-the-heartstrings poignancy as I did with The Misremembered Man, but still really enjoyed the lovely touches of humour and sentiment (a lot of them care of the redoubtable Rose McFadden who also featured in TMM).

A very satisfying and rewarding read. I recommended TMM to a couple of my friends and they loved it so I'll also be suggesting they get hold of a copy of this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light hearted fun, 20 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Kindle Edition)
A light fun read with some witty one liners. Kept me engaged enough and I loved references to the period in time, brought back memories! My favourite line "she was that plain looking not even the tide would take her out!"
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A WIDOW'S WOES, 17 Oct. 2013
By 
Red Rock Bookworm (St. George Utah USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Paperback)
On the run from the IRA and an "enforcer" called The Butcher, widow Bessie Lawless and her young son Herkie leave Belfast only to find themselves temporarily stranded in the town of Tailorstown awaiting repairs to her car. The town itself boasts an excessive number of odd ducks ranging from nosy gossips, to a closet drag queen, to an art restorer named Lorcan Strong, a man who also has more than a passing relationship with The Butcher. Short on money and with no where else to go Bessie accepts the invitation of a local man called Gusty Grant, whose acquaintance with soap and water is sadly lacking, and moves into the cottage once owned by his recently deceased Aunt Dora. In attempt to earn a few dollars she takes a job as a temporary replacement housekeeper to the local priest and from there, the plot slowly thickens into a look at life and times in rural Ireland, circa 1981.

Some readers may find the heavy Irish dialect of the written word in THE DISENCHANTED WIDOW a bit difficult to read and therefore off putting. I personally did not mind it at all and could almost hear the lilting cadence of conversations in my head. As with most novels, some of the characters are more interesting and likable than others. Bessie's nine year old son Herkie (Hercules) came across, at least to this reader, as a somewhat sneaky, undisciplined child whose entire life revolved around acts of vandalism, calculating ways getting a new Action Man toy and seeing how many sugar ladened foods he could consume. Not a very appealing child.

This is one of those stories that, while built around a scenario of hunger strikes, IRA bombings and brutality, and a mother and child in peril, still comes off as something akin to a combination of a Keystone Cops vignette coupled with an old 1940's film noir complete with convenient coincidences and a neat, tidy ending.

While DISENCHANTED WIDOW is not the best book I ever read, it is mildly entertaining and worth the time invested in reading it. 3 1/2 stars
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and very well written., 2 May 2013
By 
Dodo "Spara Fugle" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Paperback)
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I amazed myself by reading this quite long book in one sitting. It is packed with Irish humor and sparkling dialogue. The different accents have been caught accurately. The characters are well constructed and the good guys are easy to like. It is a tragi-comedy.
Terrorism is in the background and doesn't spoil the fun. It is the way the author captures the idiosyncracies of her characters that makes this book so entertaining. I loved it from start to finish.
There are lots of interesting dialect words and modern ones too.
There is an irreverent humor that mocks the hypocrisy of holy Joes and Josephines.
The author understands human nature well, portraying it with sympatico. It is a warm, insightful book that is written in a flowing style that is easy to read.
The dentist is not the sort you would want on the National Health.
Bessie is the archetypal earth mother under stress. Lorcan Strong is stronger than he thinks.
Will the two come together? Is romance in the air?
The author paints a series of vignettes, tableaux and pictures to delight the heart.
It has elements of a rollicking good play that would be a delight on the stage of 'The Lyric Theatre.'
In the end it affirms human nature, rather than condemning it.
The cover shown wouldn't do it justice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Tale, 10 Sept. 2013
By 
Brett H (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Paperback)
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Poor Bessie does not have a lot going for her. Bringing up her young lad on her own in the Falls Road area in Belfast following the recent death of her abusive husband, Packie, times are certainly hard. However, her overriding concern is the attention of the so called Dentist, an IRA enforcer who Packie had taken money from and who thinks Bessie knows where it is.

Bessie and Herkie, her young son, are soon on the run. They end up in a quiet country community where all is not necessarily as it seems, and where they have, at least a temporary respite from their worries. This is a charming tale, told colloquially in the local accent. One would think that this would be hard for the reader to follow, but in fact you quickly fall into the local dialect with no particular effort and it all seems very natural. The characters who populate Tailorstown are just the sort of colourful yokels whom you would expect.

Bessie is an interesting character. Due to her upbringing and unfortunate marriage she does not think a lot of men as a breed. However, she is well versed in making the best of herself to hit the right buttons to get what she wants from any men who cross her path and is eventually surprised when she is offered kindness in places she does not expect without the normal ulterior motive. Herkie, short for Hercules which was, apparently, one of his father's tattoos, is frankly a hooligan but one with many endearing characteristics.

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale which is set in 1980 during the Troubles, at the time when hunger strikers in the Maze are dying. Being stuck in an airport for many hours,I read it through virtually in one go despite its length. It certainly made the wait pass quickly and I would thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but not one i would read again., 11 Sept. 2013
By 
Beanie Luck (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Paperback)
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Bessie Halstone leaves Belfast with her young son Herkie after the death of her husband Packie.

Packie lead a not too favourable life and his last job made him £10,000 richer.

Unfortunately Bessie didn`t know where he had hidden the loot and hot on her trail was `The Dentist`, an unsavoury character who wants his money back. The Dentist thinks she`s got the money and will stop at nothing to get it back.

The journey leads her to Tailorstown where a broken fan belt on her car is the deciding factor for Bessie to stay for a while and her dream of going to America is put on hold. The kindness of the local garage mechanic Gusty, sees her settled in his late Aunts cottage, and she finds a job at the local vicarage as housekeeper.

Also in the same village, local guy Lorcan Strong returns home to his mother after receiving a letter from The Dentist calling in an unpaid debt, and as the days follow Bessie and Lorcans lives cross.

The characters in the village are funny and entertaining in more ways than one, and Father Cassidy is not all that he seems, Gusty made me smile too.

I enjoyed the book, an easy read with an ending that left a .......... well you better read it to find out.!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book can be hazardous to your health !, 31 Aug. 2013
By 
catherine "Catherine" (poole, dorset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Paperback)
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This is possibly the most hilariously funny book I've read this year - and considering that it's set against the backdrop of the Troubles in '80's Northern Ireland - that's an achievement in itself.
The Irish "voice" of this book is vivid and enchanting, and I found myself both chuckling and hooting with laughter throughout my read - Indeed, I must warn potential readers not to take drink whilst reading this,lest, like me, you find yourself almost asphyxiating between the mis-swallowed drink and the comedy that precipitated the mis-swallow !
Bessie makes for a fabulous heroine, and Herkie's a delight; and as for the Dentist, well, he'd certainly give Szell from Marathon Man more than a run for his money !
Just buy this, enjoy this and pass it to the next person who need cheering up - They'll love you for it !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 19 April 2014
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Kindle Edition)
This the first book I have read by this local author. It's brilliant and I would recommend you give it a go. It's well worth the 5 stars. I see Christina McKenna has written another book . I can't wait to download it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read, 18 April 2014
By 
Pat Allen (Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Kindle Edition)
A very amusing and entertaining novel. I Thoroughly enjoyed it and would read more by this author in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read., 18 April 2014
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This review is from: The Disenchanted Widow (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. Very good story line. I would highly recommend it, Also will look forward to reading others by this author.
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The Disenchanted Widow by Christina McKenna
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