Bury the Living: The Revolutionary Series #1 by Jodi McIsaac

Bury the Living: The Revolutionary Series #1 by Jodi McIsaac

The Irish Troubles are on the blog today with a time-traveling historic fiction from Jodi McIsaac. The first in The Revolutionary series, please read on for my review, check out the tour stops and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway for a $25 Amazon Giftcard and 5 print copies of BURY THE LIVING.

Bury the Living

Intrigued by the premise mixing recent and past history through the eyes of Nora, a 15 year old girl on a dangerous path in 1990’s.  Mouthy with a penchant for trouble, her brother is shanghaied into the Provos (a militant arm of the IRA) to obtain her freedom.  Struggle and strife are nothing new to the family, since the death of Nora’s father he’d been working to put food on the table and help the family survive.  Unhappily, he does what needs be done, only to be beaten to death nearly a year later.

Now, Nora is angry, and jumps full in with the IRA – and the fun begins.  Soon she is running back in time to the last big series of events in the Irish Civil War, with the blessing of Brigid Kildare a patron saint of Ireland.  Soon her dreamed about man is there in front of her, the war is raging and Nora finds that the fairy tales and stories of her youth have a grounding in this time she now finds herself in.

Overall, the time-travel portion of the story and Nora’s voice are outstanding, if a bit meandering as the story unfolded. While the historical detail was present, the connection between the two didn’t work smoothly for me, and the long treatise of factual information as a lead in, while helpful would have read better if it were better integrated into Nora’s voice and story. The premise for me is still wonderful, but the feeling of this being a series of moments connected by their Irishness never quite left me.


Bury the Living: The Revolutionary Series #1 by Jodi McIsaac

Title: Bury the Living
Author: Jodi McIsaac
Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy Elements, Irish, Time Travel / Alternate Universe
Published by: 47North
ISBN: 1503935515
Published on: 6 September 2016
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 302
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 5 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon AllRomance iTunes
See this Title on Goodreads

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. Here she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


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Belfast, 1990

When she was fifteen years old, a simple knock on the door changed Nora o’Reilly’s life—again. The knock was hard and impatient, like the people in her neighbor- hood. Nora ignored it. Maybe, just this once, her mother would rouse herself off the sofa. But no. Her mother hadn’t answered the door since the day Nora’s father had done so and been thanked for his trouble with a bullet through the eye. Nora’s small red footprints had tracked across the beige linoleum. The saint Brigid’s cross that had hung over the doorway for as long as Nora could remember had failed in its promise to protect them.

Ten years had passed, and now the linoleum was more gray than beige. Nora slipped to the front window and peered out. it was the middle of the afternoon; she’d only just arrived home from school. There’d been no warning of a raid—no banging of dustbin lids on the sidewalks to announce that the peelers had dared venture into andersonstown. Two men she didn’t recognize stood on her doorstep. They must be looking for Eamon.

Nora opened the door a crack. The first man jammed his black boot into the opening. Ballix. adrenaline flooded her body. She shoved the door against his foot, berating her stupidity. What had she been thinking? What if these men were Prods, come to finish off the rest of them?

“Relax, kid. We just want to talk.” The man forced the door open farther. “You Nora o’Reilly?”

“Depends on who’s asking. Who’re you?” He had bottlebrush hair and wore a brown leather bomber jacket. He looked old enough to be her father, only her father had been wiry, and this man looked like a rugby fullback. His companion had a thin, sharp face and kept looking over his shoulder.

“Doesn’t matter. We’ve been told to fetch you.” “Fetch me where?” Nora tried to push the door closed again, her mind lurching. Whoever these men were, she wasn’t going anywhere with them.

“The commanding officer of West Battalion has a few questions about your extracurricular activities. C’mon now. Let’s go without a fight.”

Nora’s fear turned to dread. “Like hell i’m going with youse.” she stamped on his foot, but he responded by putting his shoulder to the door and sending it flying. Nora staggered backward, colliding with the coatrack.

Shite, shite, shite. She scrabbled to her feet. She’d almost rather be caught by the Brits. The Provisional iRa didn’t tolerate petty crime in their area, and they certainly didn’t believe in such luxuries as courts and trials.

“Ma! Ma!” she screamed. Her mother would know these men; Nora’s father had been a PiRa member from the beginning.

Her mother came padding into the hall, still in her dressing gown, weaving slightly, a glass of whiskey clutched in her hand. “Paddy sullivan, what is the meaning of this?” “sorry, Mrs. o’Reilly, but o’connor wants to see her. Seems she’s been selling drugs up at the school.”

Think, Nora, think. she grappled for an explanation, a plausible denial, anything that would get her out of this. But panic clogged her brain, and all she could think was I’m fucked.

She didn’t know her mother could move so fast. Suddenly they were nose to nose. “Oh, aye? Is that true?” Mrs. o’Reilly demanded.

“No, it’s a load of shite!” Nora protested.

“You watch your language. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what am i going to do with you? What would your poor father say?” Her mother shook her head, then turned back to the PiRa men.

“Whatever she’s done, we’ll take care of it here, so we will. Youse all head out, now.”

“Sorry, Mrs. o’Reilly, but we’ve got our orders.” Paddy nodded to his companion, who brushed past Nora and her mother and pounded up the stairs toward the bedrooms.

“Oi! Houl on! Youse said you just wanted to talk!” Nora shouted after him. Mrs. o’Reilly looked like she was about to follow, but Paddy laid a hand on her arm.

“Just let him do his job,” he said.

“Ma, I’ve done nothing wrong! I swear it!” a faint sheen broke out on her forehead, and the blood drained from her fair skin.

The sound of drawers being emptied and furniture being overturned traveled down the stairs. Mrs. o’Reilly sank down into a kitchen chair and took a large gulp of whiskey. she set the glass down with a clunk and put her head in her hands.

“Ach, Nora, i’ve tried my best with you, sure i have.

Where is Eamon?”

“He went out with the lads,” Nora mumbled. she glanced toward the door.

“Don’t you be thinking of doing a runner,” Paddy warned. He wrapped his meaty hand around Nora’s up- per arm.

“I’m not! But youse wait until Eamon gets home.

He’ll sort youse out all right.”

“She’s quite the lip on her, hasn’t she?” Paddy said to the slumped form of her mother.

Loud footsteps on the stairs made them all look up. Paddy’s friend tossed him a clear plastic jar of tiny white pills.

“Oh, aye, what’s this, then?” Paddy asked.

“It’s not mine! I don’t know where you got it,” Nora said.

“I got it from your room,” the other man said with a sneer. “Unless you’re telling us your ma or your brother put it there?”

“Don’t be an eejit,” Nora spat.

“Nora! Are you trying to get yourself killed?” Mrs. o’Reilly said, locking her watery gaze on her daughter. “Do you think i don’t have enough trouble as it is? Answer the man! Is this yours? What’s in that bottle?”

“I don’t know. I said they’re not mine. Headache pills, prob’ly.”

“Oh, aye?” Paddy said, his grin widening. “With wee happy faces stamped on them? Looks like a fine stash o’ Molly to me.”

“It’s not,” Nora said.  She stared at the floor, letting her lank red hair fall forward to hide her face.

“Right, we’ll be off, then,” said Paddy. “We’ll bring her back after.”

“Where are youse taking her?” Mrs. o’Reilly asked. “Can’t say.  She’ll not be hurt.  But o’connor wants to talk to her himself, so he does.”

“Then tell him he should come here!” Nora said.

They ignored her.

Mrs. o’Reilly groaned. “Maybe he can talk some sense into her. But sure and you’ll be bringing her back here as soon as he’s asked his questions.”

“Aye,” Paddy said. “Don’t you worry. No one’ll be hurting Jimmy’s daughter.”

“Ma! You’re not letting them take me?” Nora’s brown eyes widened with panic. “They’ll knee me, so they will!” she’d seen it once, a man with both kneecaps shot through.  She could still hear his screams, see the blood running down his legs. But then again, he’d been lucky not to get a bullet in the head, like her father.

“You and I both know they’ll not give us a choice, now, don’t we? Go on with the lads, and answer their questions,” her mother answered, pulling herself unsteadily to her feet. “Mind you be polite. Maybe you’ll listen to Mick O’connor more than you do your own mother.”

With a nod to Mrs. O’Reilly, Paddy and his friend each took hold of one of Nora’s scrawny arms and dragged her out the front door toward a waiting van.

“Someone help! I’m being kidnapped!” Nora yelled, craning her head frantically in search of a savior. Neighbors peeked out from behind curtains, and two boys stopped their game of football down the street to stare. No one came forward.

“Shut yer gub!” Paddy said, giving her a rough shove into the van. “I told yer ma we wouldn’t hurt you for your da’s sake, but if you make it hard for us, all bets are off.” “Eamon!” she yelled, clinging to the door, hoping her brother was somewhere nearby. He’d stand up to the Provos. He’d protect her. “Eamon!”


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About Jodi McIsaac

Jodi McIsaac is the author of several novels, including A Cure for Madness and the Thin Veil Series. She grew up in New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. After abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote speeches for a politician, volunteered in a refugee camp, waited tables in Belfast, earned a couple of university degrees, and started a boutique copywriting agency. She loves running, geek culture, and whiskey.