Unbearable Burdens? – Review of “Trials and Tribulations” by Jean Grainger

Robinswood is more than an Irish country estate. It’s a haven for the Murphy and Kennefick clans, offering refuge and employment to the entire extended family of Dermot and Isabella Murphy who were in service there for most of their 35 years of married life, raising three daughters, all now grown and married as well. With no money and the mostly worthless title of Lord and Lady Kennefick, Sam and youngest daughter Kate, with the help of her parents, saved Robinswood from rotting and collapsing in on itself. Oldest daughter Eve and her husband Bartley are expecting their first child, while middle daughter Aisling and husband Mark are trying to start a family and Sam’s sister, “Lady” Lillian continues to act entitled while her husband Beau toils like a farmhand on the Kennefick estate. And now Bella is critically ill with the dreaded and in 1950 still deadly, tuberculosis.

As hard as Dermot and Bella have worked to keep their family together in safety, the realities of the world outside Robinswood come creeping in to threaten their way of life. Is their family strong enough to withstand the unpredictable circumstances that seem to come at them from all directions? Or will they falter under the weight of their burdens?

Jean Grainger’s last book of the Robinswood trilogy packs an emotional punch that is both devastating and uplifting. Grainger introduces a few new characters and fleshes out some others that add dimension to the plot. And speaking of plots, this one is multifaceted – mystery, intrigue, loyalty, love, deception and murder. Yes, murder.

“Trials and Tribulations” is a riveting read and I highly recommend it. It can be read as a standalone but, in my opinion, you will appreciate it more if you’ve read the first two books in the series. Five stars.

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