The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry is a terrific book with strong characters and a gut-wrenching plot. When I finished The Whipping Club this morning I was emotionally drained and exhausted from this story and it’s ending.
What starts out as a love story between a Catholic woman, Marian McKeever and a Jewish man, Ben Ellis in Ireland in the 60’s, familiar in its plot, or so I thought, turns into a totally different animal as the book progresses. It is not at all what it seems on the surface it is so much more.
Marian and Ben have somewhat of a happy ending as regards to the fact that they do get married and have a daughter, but It is really the story of Marian and Ben’s biological child, Adrian, who grows up in an orphanage run by the catholic church, where the plot gets interesting. You see Marian was pregnant with Ben’s son Adrian before they were wedded and her uncle, Father Brennan, convinces Marian that it is best that she give the child up for adoption and not tell Ben, believing that Marian and Ben will never be married. Marian believes that her son has been adopted by an American family and has had a good life.
What turns this tale on its head is when Marian finds out that her son Adrian has been in Dublin all his life, being mistreated and suffering in a local orphanage. My heart broke while reading this book and actually brought tears to my eyes, which rarely happens to me while reading. I don’t want to give away anymore of the plot, but suffice it to say that it is an amazing story with depth and complexity and I highly encourage people to read it.
I have been on a roll for the last few weeks reading one excellent book after another. It’s so early in 2012 that I hope the momentum will continue throughout the year but I don’t see how that’s possible. Always the optimist can’t you tell?!