The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

The Secret Scripture

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Synopsis (from Amazon)

Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she’s spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr. Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne’s story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland’s changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.


I seem to find books I struggle with become more rewarding, and this was the case with this one. I found it difficult to get into, almost giving up at one point. But something kept me going and by halfway I was hooked. I know little about the history of Ireland and I found this and interesting way to find out. I began to really feel for the characters, I think I liked Dr. Grene the best, but can’t really say why, I think maybe he just he seemed the most real. And I wanted to punch the priest so many times (is that a bad thing to say?!) (highlight for spoiler) he really seemed to have it in for Roseanne, and for no real reason, and he seemed to have a part to play in everything that went wrong for her. Generally though the thing that disappointed me was that I worked out the twist (which comes towards the end) really early on, possibly that was because of the synopsis on the back of the book, I would recommend not reading that bit



Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical, Psychology (fiction)

11 responses to “The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

  1. bigwords88

    The sypnosis was most likely written by someone at the publishers, so the fault isn’t that of the author. I’ve tended to steer clear of novels about Irish history in the last few years as so many tend to dwell on The Troubles. I haven’t heard anyone being really disappointed by Sebastian Barry so far, so it sounds like I need need to check out his work.


  2. lucybirdbooks

    I certainly hope so, it is still a shame though.


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  4. Thanks for directing me to your review! I’ll put this on the list (and thanks for the heads-up about the back cover!)


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