‘Solace’ by Belinda McKeon is a quiet Irish novel, but it packs a lot in. McKeon tells the story of family ties and expectations, along with that of youth ambition, from the perspective of four characters. It’s about a family undergoing strains: from a father who can’t accept that his only son wants to leave the family farm for a life in Dublin, and a son who is frustrated by his father’s efforts to tie him to a life that he doesn’t want. The book also tells the story of new loves, losses and hope.

I enjoyed McKeon’s writing style. For example, you know from the prologue that something bad is coming, but when it does you are so immersed in her storytelling, you don’t mind that she brushes right over it. In fact, in my mind, it lent more credibility to the book and the story she wanted to weave.

If you are an Irish literature fan, I would especially recommend this book. It takes you from the ins and outs of rural country village life to bustling Dublin, making you feel like you are there struggling right along with the characters.