Caitriona Brady is twenty-six years old and is the widow of John Brady, the Brady champion who was killed in a faction fight two years ago. Caitriona and John were brought together by a local matchmaker and Caitriona was eighteen when she left her home in Dunmore Parish, married John, and began a life in a cottage on fifteen acres of rented land on a mountain in the remote parish of Doon.
Caitriona and John had no children and, after John’s death, Caitriona nursed John’s elderly mother until Bridget died. Finally her own mistress, Caitriona wants to make the most of her new found freedom. She wants to choose a husband this time and not have the decision made for her.
Michael Warner is new to the parish, is the most handsome man she has ever seen – and he loves her. So why are there so many obscacles in the way of their courtship? The Brady faction see Caitriona’s love for the priest’s brother as a betrayal of her dead husband. Caitriona’s ‘betrayal’ is used to begin a number of faction fights and she is very much afraid that she will be responsible for someone’s death. John Brady has been dead for two years and the Brady faction won’t allow him to rest in peace. Can the Bradys be persuaded to change their name and Caitriona allowed to move on with her life?
Michael’s brother, Father Liam Warner, disapproves of their courtship, too. He views Caitriona as dangerous, even if she doesn’t realise it herself, and wants nothing more than for Caitriona to return home to her family in Dunmore Parish. It seems nothing will change his mind about the ‘damned Brady woman’.
Even Caitriona’s brother-in-law, Thady Brady, has reservations about the courtship. Thady gave Caitriona permission to look for another husband and approves of Michael Warner, but not enough is known about Doon Parish’s ‘mystery man’. Thady persuades Caitriona to allow him to do some digging into Michael’s background at an upcoming cattle fair. What Thady discovers shakes Caitriona’s world to the core.
Can there ever be a solution to seemingly insurmountable obstacles? Is there no hope for Caitriona and Michael? Find out in Brotherly Love.
Ireland, 1835. Faction fighting has left the parish of Doon divided between the followers of the Bradys and the Donnellans. Caitriona Brady is the widow of John, the Brady champion, killed two years ago. Matched with John aged eighteen, Caitriona didn’t love him and can’t mourn him. Now John’s mother is dead, too, and Caitriona is free to marry again.
Michael Warner is handsome, loves her, and he hasn’t allied himself with either faction. But what secret is he keeping from her? Is he too good to be true?
Caitriona saw the shock in Thady’s eyes when she opened the door to Mary and him. Even Mary was stunned into an unusual silence, taking in her eyes – red and swollen from crying – her limp and undone hair hanging over her face and neck, and her creased and unkempt dress. Mary glanced at the blanket hanging over the back of the chair by the hearth, evidence that she hadn’t slept in either bed the previous night.
“Have you both come to tell me how I’ve been betraying my dear husband’s memory?” she croaked, walking back into the kitchen. “You’re the first today so maybe I’ll listen to you.”
“Were you not listening to what I told you last week?” Thady demanded. “John’s dead, let him lie.”
“But they won’t,” she replied wearily. “They’ll never let him lie.”
“Wait, wait.” Mary held up her hands, clearly lost as to the jist of the conversation. “What did you tell her, Thady?” she demanded.
Thady sighed. “I told Caitriona that as it has been two years since John died, she was free to look for another husband.”
Mary’s eyes narrowed. “Well, it didn’t take you long, did it? The priest’s brother, no less. You went off into the woods with him, I was told. You went off with him into the woods in front of everyone.”
“You were told?” Caitriona retorted. “You weren’t even there, Mary. Don’t think you know what happened because you don’t.”
“All right.” Thady laid a comforting hand on her arm. “I know we weren’t there but we did talk to Father Warner and to Michael. Father Warner wasn’t very happy-looking.”
“What about Michael?”
“He didn’t say much but he looked shocked. There was an almighty fight going on.”
“Well, it shows that no-one listened to a word I said at the wake.” She shrugged helplessly. “I just don’t know what to do, Thady.”
“I have no objections to Michael Warner courting you, though, I’d say his brother does. The next pilgrimage is next month to Tobar Dhoun. I’m John’s brother, I don’t fight anymore, so how about I go and talk to Father Warner then, maybe, he can say something at Mass. Everyone will have to listen, then.”
“Do you think they will?” she asked in a small voice. “I don’t know.”
“We can only try.” Thady smiled at her, ignoring his wife who was rolling her eyes heavenwards. “I only want you to be happy and if Michael Warner’s the man…”
“He is,” she replied quietly. “If he hasn’t been frightened away.”
“Not at all, though, maybe you should be a little bit more careful in future. Michael Warner hasn’t lived in the parish very long, people don’t know him, and he’s refused to be dragged into the fighting. People don’t know what to make of him yet. Just be careful.”
“You’ll want something done before Tobar Dhoun,” Mary said shortly. “That fight yesterday was a disgrace. You’ll kill someone yet, you stupid girl.”
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