The River in the Trees by Jacqueline O’Mahony really is a special read; think Cecelia Ahern but grittier and subtle in how it weaves Ellen and Hannah’s stories together.
O’Mahony’s use of dual narrative is a triumph as it showcases the parallels which exist between lives even one hundred years apart. It allows The River in the Trees to be steeped in both history and the human experience of love, loss and conflict.
The story is appropriately paced, ensuring the reader’s own life swiftly becomes entwined with the characters’ lives, it is rich and it is heartbreaking. The final few chapters swell with emotion and provide a twist which is wonderfully satisfying.
I think, however, what I loved the most about O’Mahony’s novel is how it ends. She has achieved something few writers manage, which is to close the novel in way which resolves one chapter but could allow for the next to be written. I would happily read more about the next steps of both Hannah and Ellen; but if this novel is it, that is perfectly fine too.
Thus, The River in the Trees, a heartrending and beautifully composed story set in Ireland from 1919 to 2019, will undoubtedly stand the test of time.