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Ruby Flynn by Nadine Dorries

Meet Ruby Flynn, an orphan raised and educated by nuns who becomes a determined and headstrong young woman despite her sad beginnings. When she turns eighteen she is sent to work at Ballyford Castle, a place she has never been and yet is startlingly familiar to her. 

Ballyford is the residence of the wealthy FitzDeanes who have their own problems. Lady FitzDeane is unable to provide an heir having lost her previous five boys in their infancy and wallows in the nursery in her all-consuming grief. Her husband Charles runs off to Liverpool at every opportunity to grow his shipping business and has his own way of coping with the family tragedy. 

There are rumours that the FitzDeane family are cursed, the result of a mistake from long ago, and with the arrival of the beautiful Ruby, with her red hair and green eyes, it seems like the whispered prophecy may just be coming true. 

From the moment I started the story I adored Ruby’s character. She’s clever and feisty but very likeable which straight away makes her interesting and enjoyable to read about. She seems to forge meaningful relationships easily, especially amongst the household staff at Ballyford and so it’s not hard to become emotionally invested in not only hers but lots of the main characters’ lives. 

With so many characters and family legacies involved of course there are plenty of secrets and betrayals that are slowly revealed in layers which really keep you hooked on turning pages. Poor Ruby is innocent about her heritage so you discover her past just as she uncovers the truth about herself too which attaches the reader to her even more. 

There is something about the Irish setting that adds so much more depth to the story. With harsh winters and the famine, there is drama and tragedy but with the descriptive nature of the setting and the warmth of the people that live there, it was truly engaging to read. 

With the backdrop of the bustling castle, I kind of likened the vibe to Downton Abbey with an Irish twist which is surely bound to be a big hit with readers. Ruby Flynn is a stunning family saga from the bestselling author of The Four Streets Trilogy (which I’ve not read but curious of now). This is the kind of story that you get completely wrapped up in and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this stunning book. 

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