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Review by Suze
Maeve leaves the family farm in Donegal hoping to find a better life in Birmingham. There she meets the charming Brendan. Soon after marrying him Maeve knows she's made a huge mistake. Brendan's friendliness while they were dating was only an act and he is in fact a bully. Brendan is cruel and vindictive and he doesn't care about his wife at all. Maeve is trapped and there's nothing she can do, especially not when she gets pregnant and children arrive.
Maeve tries to shield her little ones from Brendan, but he's unstoppable. When she doesn't succeed in keeping them safe, she has no choice but to go back to her parents. However, in the Catholic community she's from the church is always involved and Maeve is being forced to go back to the man that keeps putting her in danger. Will she have a future with this brute of a husband and what will happen to her and her children if they stay with him?
Pack Up Your Troubles is a beautiful emotional story. Maeve is unbelievably strong. Brendan only has power because he has physical strength, but Maeve will not let him break her spirit. I greatly admired her, she does what she can and fights for her children. She never complains while her life is terrible. Reading about Brendan's actions repeatedly made me cry, as they're absolutely awful. Anne Bennett deeply touched me with this story. I was repulsed by Maeve's aggressive husband, but due to Maeve's amazing personality the story is so compelling that I had to keep reading.
Pack Up Your Troubles is a long story and I loved every page. Anne Bennett describes Maeve's entire life story. The novel is fast-paced and there's always something going on. One of the things I enjoy most about Anne Bennett's work is that she has so much to write about. Her stories are detailed and accurate and they take me to a different time and place. I love the way she writes, it's impressive, vivid, precise and captivating. She makes her main characters come to life very well and the reader has the chance to get to know them through and through, which is incredible.
Pack Up Your Troubles is a novel about a heavy topic, abuse. Anne Bennett describes what happens to Maeve in a raw and honest way, she doesn't leave anything out to spare her readers. It's an intense way of storytelling that hits hard and that is exactly the way it's supposed to be. What happens behind closed doors can be shocking and while reading this book I often had to think about the women who actually went through and are going through something similar. Maeve is a sweet woman with so much potential and Brendan ruins everything for her. I kept hoping she would find happiness at some point. Therefore Anne Bennett kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the ending, it's fitting and absolutely brilliant. I highly recommend this fantastic book.
Pack Up Your Troubles is a perfect choice for readers who love realistic, impressive historical fiction and aren't afraid to get emotional.
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