Meet Brotherly Love’s Caitriona Brady

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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.

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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?

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Excerpt:

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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The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War Two

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The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was established in 1939 by King George VI and was linked with the RAF so that RAF personnel could be substituted for women whenever possible.

Originally the roles of the women in the WAAF were domestic duties such as cooking and driving. Women were not allowed to fly and their general capabilities were often doubted in the early stages of the war. During the Battle of Britain, however, the RAF were under huge strain and this led to a change of role for the WAAF. It became crucial for the WAAF to take on more technical tasks, and they were trained in operating teleprinters—like Into The Unknown’s Kate Sheridan—radar plotting, the maintenance of barrage balloons and the interpretation of photographs.

There were approximately seven thousand WAAFs based at Fighter Command airbases such as Biggin Hill during the summer of 1940. These bases were targets in raids by the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain and without the diligent work and bravery of the WAAF, the RAF would have struggled to cover all necessary roles, which could have had a bearing on the British victory. Through their outstanding work the women in the WAAF proved that women were fully capable of aiding and contributing to the British war effort but also to the general role of women in British society.

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London on 3 September 1939 is in upheaval. War is inevitable. Into this turmoil steps Kate Sheridan newly arrived from Ireland to live with her aunt and uncle and look for work. When she meets Flight Lieutenant Charlie Butler sparks fly, but he is a notorious womaniser. Should she ignore all the warnings and get involved with a ladies man whose life will be in daily danger?

Charlie Butler has no intention of getting involved with a woman. But when he meets Kate his resolve is shattered. Should he allow his heart to rule his head and fall for a nineteen year old Irish girl while there is a war to fight?

Private conflicts and personal doubts are soon overshadowed. Will the horrors of war bring Kate and Charlie together or tear them apart?

Excerpt:

At the Sector Station, Kate sank down on her bed and groaned. Jean had followed her into their hut and stared.

“You look awful, Kate,” she commented.

Kate rubbed her eyes. “So would you if you had on average only three hours sleep per night in a week.”

Jean nodded. “I heard it was bad.”

“It was awful. The first night, Charlie and I were nearly killed. A bomb landed only a couple of gardens away.”

Jean winced. “How is Charlie? Still as handsome as ever?”

“Yes.” Kate smiled, remembering that night in the shelter. “But he’s so tired now. Any gossip here?”

“Daniel ‘Paddy’ Connelly’s gone.”

“Gone?”

“Posted away. He tried it on with Wilma, Rachel and Teresa. He’s in bombers now, somewhere in Group Twelve, but away from here, thank God.”

“Yes.” Kate closed her eyes. “I thought he was dead.”

“I thought you hated him?”

“I do, but I wouldn’t wish him dead. Oh.” She groaned again. “What time is it?”

“Half past seven.”

“Right, I’m going straight to bed,” she told Jean. “I need a good night’s sleep, I’m all in.”

“All right, we’re going to need all the sleep we can get. I think we’re going to be put on nights.”

Kate stared at her friend in dismay before flopping back onto the bed, too tired to even swear.

Unfortunately, Jean was right. They were put on the night shift. Reports flooded in on the teleprinters, and Kate found herself too busy to be tired.

“We’ll be on the go tonight.” Squadron Leader Brown reached over, taking a bundle of reports from her, and hurried into the Operations Room.

Inside the room, she could see the map of her sector, then a couple of rows of raised seating where messages were passed down to the map plotters. Behind those seats sat the officers who made the decisions. Where was Charlie, she wondered as another report began to come through. The report was from Fighter Command HQ. “Here, sir,” she called to Brown as he came out again and handed him the report.

He scanned it, then frowned. “Damn,” he muttered, but smiled at her anxious face. “Take a break, Sheridan.”

She nodded and gave her seat to Wilma Pinner. She went outside, taking a breath of fresh air, and glanced to the horizon. She stared, her heart leaping into her mouth. The horizon was lit up by an orange glow. It was as if all of London was on fire, and somewhere in the middle of it all was Charlie.

The night was long and demanding. By six in the morning, Kate and Jean were exhausted, but they concluded there had been worse nights, before falling into bed.

Night after night at the teleprinter followed before Kate and Jean were put on day shifts and told, to their delight, that they had leave due.

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