The Stolen Child: A Novel by Lisa CareyThe Stolen Child: A Novel by Lisa Carey

The Stolen Child: A Novel

byLisa Carey

Paperback | February 7, 2017

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From the author of the critically acclaimed The Mermaids Singing comes a haunting, luminous novel set on an enchanted island off the west coast of Ireland where magic, faith, and superstition pervade the inhabitants’ lives and tangled relationships—perfect for fans of Eowyn Ivey, Sarah Waters, and Angela Carter.

May 1959. From one side of St. Brigid’s Island, the mountains of Connemara can be glimpsed on the distant mainland; from the other, the Atlantic stretches as far as the eye can see. This remote settlement, without electricity or even a harbor, has scarcely altered since its namesake saint set up a convent of stone huts centuries ago. Those who live there, including sisters Rose and Emer, are hardy and resourceful, dependent on the sea and each other for survival.  Despite the island’s natural beauty, it is a place that people move away from, not to—until an outspoken American, also named Brigid, arrives to claim her late uncle’s cottage.

Brigid has come for more than an inheritance. She’s seeking a secret holy well that’s rumored to grant miracles. Emer, as scarred and wary as Rose is friendly and beautiful, has good reason to believe in inexplicable powers. Despite her own strange abilities—or perhaps because of them—Emer fears that she won’t be able to save her young son, Niall, from a growing threat. Yet Brigid has a gift too, even more remarkable than Emer’s. As months pass and Brigid carves out a place on the island and in the sisters’ lives, a complicated web of betrayal, fear, and desire culminates in one shocking night that will change the island, and its inhabitants, forever.

Steeped in Irish history and lore, The Stolen Child is a mesmerizing descent into old world beliefs, and a captivating exploration of desire, myth, motherhood, and love in all its forms.

“Steeped in dark Irish mythology, The Stolen Child is a piercing exploration of regret and desire, longing and love. It is a gorgeously written, inventive, and compelling novel.”Ayelet Waldman

Kirkus Most Addictive Books of 2017


Title:The Stolen Child: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.9 inPublished:February 7, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062492187

ISBN - 13:9780062492180

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Memorable and Unique Story of Irish Folklore Definitely a story I will never forget. I will admit I got lost a few times, probably skimming over lengthly descriptions about mythology. You can tell a lot of thought, time and research went into a novel like this so I think it deserves a 4 star from my viewpoint. Give it a read, you won't be disappointed and may come away believing in Fairies and the Good People.
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautifully rendered mix of harsh Irish history and magical realism We’ve been told that the Irish are a superstitious lot. This is even more true of rural Ireland of sixty years ago, when this novel is set. A fictional island of fishers and farmers, with no running water or electricity, St. Brigid’s Island is almost as antiquated as the Celtic saint whose name it bears. A three-mile long island that houses just eight families, myriad sheep, and no trees. The islanders have suffered many loses and the graveyard is on a point of land near where the boats dock. “The first thing you see when you row a boat to this island is all the children who have already gone.” “Living here is like being slowly drowned, held down on a rock and left for the tide to come in” The island has a well, a holy well, said to have magical powers attributed to Brigid. The islanders hold an odd juxtaposition of beliefs. They are Roman Catholics, but they also believe in the ‘fairies’ or little people. They all have a St. Brigid’s cross adorning their cottage walls. When they are in need of succor they pray to the Catholic saints, then, to cover their bases, they pray to the fairies… There are two female protagonists in “The stolen child“, a story that tells of women who are stretched to their limit both physically and emotionally – and then called upon to endure even more. Emer uses her hands to do damage. Leaching away other people’s happiness is the only thing she has ever been able to do. Emer, a caustic, dour and joyless woman of twenty-three years. Twin sister to the joyful and sunny Rose, mother to Niall whom she adores. She has never had a friend and has always felt ‘alone’. Emer lost one of her eyes years ago to an infection brought about by myriad bee stings. Though the islanders believe in the holy healing powers of the sacred well, the waters failed to save Emer’s eye. Emer and her twin sister have known unimaginable hardship in their short lives. When they were just twelve years old, their mother had a stroke and they’ve been doing all the work ever since. Girls on this island were born to work and help their mothers. Boys were born to please their mothers. Emer lives in fear that Niall, her son and the light of her life, will be ‘stolen‘. She fears that the fairies will seek retribution. Emer had such low expectations and then watched, time and again, as they were realized Rose is the ‘good’ sister married to the hard-working Austin, the good brother. Emer is the ‘bad’ sister married to the lesser brother, Patch, a drunkard. Emer has never known happiness and she spreads her bitterness to whomever she meets – until she meets Brigid. “They would never be pure, but they were expected to attack the tarnish daily.” Brigid uses her hands to heal. Brigid, nearing her fortieth birthday, has come to the island from the American state of Maine. The daughter of a lighthouse keeper, Brigid is no stranger to hard work and hardship herself. Her mother’s family were from this island, and now she has returned… A widow who has suffered many miscarriages, she longs for a child of her own. She hopes that the island’s holy well will bring about a miracle and bring her a child and the peace she has craved all her life. Brigid befriends a stray and half starved dog whom she names Rua. She is her constant companion. “She loved that stupid creature as if it were her own child and not a dog at all”. But Brigid has come to an island with a dying way of life, one that is soon to end, for the islanders are to be relocated to the mainland. “the sea looks like a calm blue walkway pretending as though it never tries to trap them in rage.” This is a story rich with Irish folklore about strong and resilient Irish women. A novel which poses the question: If you want and crave something strong enough… can YOU MAKE it happen? Historical fiction liberally doused throughout with magical realism – with themes of motherhood, superstition, betrayal, suspicion, endurance, loneliness, and grief. “When something is stolen from you, it is sometimes easier to act like you never wanted it in the first place.” As a background tale, the novel also tells of the history of the Celtic saint Brigid, and her colony of medieval pagan nuns that once inhabited the island. The nuns lived a harsh and brutal existence, residing in pairs in beehive-shaped stone huts called clochans. Like the protagonists of the novel, they too were women fending for themselves in dire circumstances. “There is a striking similarity between anticipation and dread”. Written with beautiful language and turns of phrase, the story causes the reader to become enraptured by the women, the island, and even St. Brigid herself. The author took five years to write “The stolen child” which was inspired by Kieran Concannon’s documentary film, “Death of an island“. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2017-03-17

Editorial Reviews

“Startling, bewitching and new; the world of Lisa Carey’s THE STOLEN CHILD is less a tiny island than a multi-layered universe. Fierce and vivid in its portrayals of community, superstition, sexuality and the human need to believe and to connect, it’s a novel which resists sentiment and instead plunges into the visceral quick of myth and legend, while keeping a clear and intelligent eye on the reality of how people are. Carey’s women in particular are unforgettable: this is a novel to devour.”