Lily Steps Up

Lily Steps Up

A Lissadell Story

Written by Judi Curtin, Cover illustration by Rachel Corcoran

Lily and Nellie work hard as housemaids in Lissadell. And yet their days are full of friendship, fun, and even madcap bicycle rides with Maeve, daughter of the famous Republican, Countess Markievicz. But Nellie is all alone in the world; she grew up in the workhouse, where she was separated from her sisters. Lily longs to help her, but how can she?

Paperback: €9.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781788492553

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781788492386

From the author of Lily at Lissadell and the ‘Alice & Megan’, ‘Eva’ and ‘Time After Time’ series

Lissadell House, Sligo, 1913

Friends Lily and Nellie work long hard hours as housemaids for the Gore Booth family in the Big House. And yet these are days filled with friendship, fun, and even madcap bicycle rides with Maeve, daughter of the famous Republican, Countess Marcievicz.

But Lily knows there’s an empty place in her friend’s heart. Nellie is all alone in the world; she grew up in the workhouse, where she was separated from her sisters. Lily longs to help her, but could she end up losing all she has – even her livelihood. And what will happen to her hopes and dreams? Just how much would you give up for a friend …?


A story of friendship set in the changing world of early 20th century Ireland.

Judi Curtin

Judi Curtin is the best-selling author of the ‘Alice and Megan’ series, the 'Eva' series and the 'Time After Time' series, about Beth and Molly, accidental time-travelling best friends. Judi won the Children's Book of the Year (Senior) at the Irish Book Awards in 2017 for Stand By Me. Her current series, about Lily, is set in the famous Lissadell House in Co Sligo.

Rachel Corcoran is a freelance illustrator and designer from Dublin, Ireland. A member of Illustrators Ireland, Rachel's work appears in children's books and book cover illustrations. Rachel also runs her online shop where she sells her earth-kind illustrated greeting cards and prints. When Rachel is not illustrating, she loves to bake with her helper Billie the cat, garden with her outdoor cat Socks, and read books that are set in times long ago. 

Lily is once again shown to be a kind, resourceful character that children can look up to. She is determined to help her friend Nellie find the family she was separated from in the workhouse and uses all the connections she has to do so. Curtin’s familiar conversational style keeps the reader engaged with the characters and the plot. Irish history lovers will enjoy the presence of characters such as Countess Markievicz. A thoroughly enjoyable read and sure to become a favourite in Irish households

Children's Books Ireland

No one writes friendship stories quite like Curtin and the historical details are fascinating, like the seal in the Lissadell pond. Everyone needs a friend like Lily, kind, clever and tenacious, and in a difficult year, this book is like a warm hug

Irish Independent

Judi Curtin fans have a treat in store with the much-anticipated sequel to last year’s Lily A t Lissadell arriving in time for Christmas. Lily Steps Up returns to the Downton esque ‘big house’ of the Booths in Lissadell, Co Sligo. Fact meets fiction as serving girl Lily and Maeve, daughter of Constance Markievicz, track down the sister of another servant and bring her to Lissadell, but Lily faces a dilemma when a valuable locket goes missing and the sister becomes the chief suspect

The Holly Bough

Gives a valuable insight into the lives in the Big House as well as the gap between the upstairs and downstairs. Well drawn characters and a tale with a twist in the tail

Irish Examiner

Judi Curtin, whose Alice and Megan, Eva, and Friends Forever series have made her a firm favourite with readers aged seven-plus, has just released the second of her Lissadell books. Lily Steps Up continues the intriguing story of the fictional housemaid at Sligo’s Lissadell House, who befriends the real Maeve Markievicz. Set in 1914, against a backdrop of huge social change in Ireland in which Maeve’s mother Constance was actively involved, the story revolves around Lily’s attempts to help her friend, fellow serving girl Nellie, who appears to be alone in the world … Tales of female friendship being something of a speciality for Cork native Curtin, this historical setting, giving an insight into social-class division, makes the Lissadell series among her most accomplished yet

Evening Echo

Super stocking filler

RTE Guide

My niece waits with bated breath for the new Judi Curtin each year! She has collected all of her books and even has the Judi Curtin pencils and tote bags, which she keeps in mint condition. She reads the Eva series and the Alice and Megan series on a loop! You can’t go wrong with any of these

Good Luck with the Book

Everyone needs a friend like Lily, kind, clever and tenacious. In a difficult year, this book is like a warm hug

Irish Independent

A wonderfully crafted historical kids novel, perfect for ages 8 and up


I would recommend this book highly

Evening Echo

Really loved this book … 10/10 as it was an excellent read - I have even read some parts twice

Martha, 5th Class, Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS

Seomra Ranga

I absolutely love Judi’s books… gorgeous...madcap...a lovely book about friendship and courage and hope

Caroline Busher, Ireland AM

Downton Abbey for 8 year olds

Anna Daly, Ireland AM

Her stuff is brilliant

Simon Delaney, Ireland AM

Lily Steps Up is the sequel to Judi Curtin's immensely enjoyable novel Lily at Lissadell. It is another beautifully-written page-turner. We meet Lily and best friend Nellie once again, both housemaids in the 'Big House' owned by the Gore-Booth family at Lissadell. Despite their work being arduous and their lives being difficult, the overriding theme of friendship and fun is ever present. Together they fill their days with work and adventure, and even get to encounter how the other half live through their escapades with in-house resident Maeve, daughter of republican Constance Markievicz. While Lily has a warm and loving family who she gets to visit at weekends, poor Nellie is not so lucky. Bereft of family, Nellie is very much on her own in this world. But when Lily gets word that Nellie's sister may well be alive, she sets out to help her friend, putting her job and livelihood in jeopardy. The second in this series, but hopefully not the last, this book will capture the hearts of many. With cross-curricular links, and historical references, this book is suitable for classroom use and individual reading

Lorna Roche, Co Dublin - InTouch Magazine

When I was choosing this book, I thought it was going to be very good because Judi Curtin is an excellent author and I have read some of her books before. I would describe this as an adventure book … I really enjoyed reading this and I would definitely recommend it to a friend

junior reviewer Donna Moynihan of Boherbue National School The Echo

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • Download Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Nicola Heaney

Audio available: listen to some of this book now ...

    Audiobook chapter 1 part 1. Read by Caroline Lennon:
    Audiobook chapter 1 part 2:
    Audiobook chapter 1 part 3:

Also by Judi Curtin:

Alice and Megan Series
Alice Again
Alice in the Middle
Don't Ask Alice
Bonjour Alice
Alice to the Rescue

Go to author page...

Also by Rachel Corcoran:

Lily at Lissadell
The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street
Lily Takes a Chance
Lily's Dream

Go to author page...

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