Rebel Sisters by Marita Conlon-McKenna | Review

Rebel Sisters by Marita Conlon-McKenna

Published for the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, Rebel Sisters is the Number One Irish bestseller from award-winning novelist Marita Conlon-McKenna, who writes with all the emotional depth and warmth of Maeve Binchy.

With the threat of the First World War looming, tension simmers under the surface of Ireland.

Growing up in the privileged confines of Dublin’s leafy Rathmines, the bright, beautiful Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel and Nellie kick against the conventions of their wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella’s expectations. Soon, as war erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters find themselves caught up in their country’s struggle for freedom.

Muriel falls deeply in love with writer Thomas MacDonagh, artist Grace meets the enigmatic Joe Plunkett – both leaders of ‘The Rising’ – while Nellie joins the Citizen Army and bravely takes up arms, fighting alongside Countess Constance Markievicz in the rebellion.

On Easter Monday, 1916, the biggest uprising in Ireland for two centuries begins. The world of the Gifford sisters and everyone they hold dear will be torn apart in a fight that is destined for tragedy.


TLC Book ToursBook Details:
  Rebel Sisters

Author: Marita Conlon-McKenna
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Historical Fiction | Irish Family Saga
Publisher:  Penguin Random House UK
Published: February 1, 2016
Format: Kindle edition, 400 pages
Source: Publisher
Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links


FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.


My Take

Prolific and highly respected in Ireland writing and publishing circles, Marita Conlon-McKenna exquisitely writes the story of the Gifford family of Dublin, especially their daughters. Of great importance is the Easter Monday Uprising in 1916 which effectively changes the lives of many, including the Giffords.

Born into privilege, the three Gifford daughters strain against their parents’ approval when it comes to their life’s callings, potential suitors and/or husbands, and religious beliefs. To their family’s dismay and disbelief they become actively involved in the pro-freedom movement in Ireland.

A bonus provided by Conlon-McKenna is an afterword which goes into the lives of the Gifford sisters and the Rising as it occurred. Students of history will enjoy this additional historical part.

Without much educational background in Irish history, I learned that at the same time of the Easter Rising in Ireland there were also labor protests occurring in Michigan and the Appalachian area of our own country. It is interesting to note that the complaint of the lower laboring classes is somewhat similar to the problems facing our laboring class today: low wages, difficulty in providing for one’s family while the wealthy take home more than their fair share.

This is a great historical fiction work providing realistic views of three sisters, whose story is due some recognition, and bringing to light the struggles of the poor laborers during the early 1900s. I highly recommend Rebel Sisters to any fan of historical fiction or student of Irish history looking to increase his/her knowledge of the economics of Ireland in the early 1900s.


Author Bio n Links



Marita Conlon-McKenna, Author

Marita Conlon-McKenna is a hugely successful Irish children’s writer. Her first novel, UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE, sold 250,000 copies in the Irish market alone. Her debut adult novel, THE MAGDALEN, was a number one bestseller in Ireland, followed by PROMISED LAND, MIRACLE WOMAN, THE STONE HOUSE and THE HAT SHOP ON THE CORNER. She lives in Dublin with her husband and four children.

Visit Marita at her website:

Follow the rest of Marita’s tour by clicking here.






2 thoughts on “Rebel Sisters by Marita Conlon-McKenna | Review

  1. I love love love historical fiction, and even more when it is set in Ireland in this time period – the events of this era shaped my Gram’s childhood in many ways. I can’t wait to read this one!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s