New Friends. Old Differences.

Twins Dylan and Emma Goldman move from Washington to Belfast when their journalist father is sent to cover the turbulent early days of the civil rights movement. The complicated friendships prove life-threatening when the simmering tensions in Northern Ireland erupt into violence in the summer of 1969.

Paperback: €8.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781847175793

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781847176172

Big changes are coming to late-Sixties Belfast. At first life seems normal for Sammy and Maeve, two children from the opposing republican and loyalist communities. Sammy tries to avoid trouble with his unemployed father, while Maeve has lived with her aunt and uncle since her mother’s death.

When twins Dylan and Emma Goldman move from Washington to Belfast they strike up friendships with Maeve and Sammy. Gradually the nationalist girl and loyalist boy overcome their suspicions of each other, and all four children become friends. But even as they have fun at local sports clubs, attend the Goldman’s barbeques, and secretly make their own radio programmes, they can’t ignore the trouble that is slowing gripping the country. And when the simmering tensions in Northern Ireland erupt into violence it threatens not just their friendships – but their very lives.

Brian Gallagher

Brian Gallagher was born in Dublin. He is a full-time writer whose plays and short stories have been produced in Ireland, Britain and Canada. He has worked extensively in radio and television, writing many dramas and documentaries.

He collaborated with composer Shaun Purcell on the musical, Larkin, for which he wrote the book and lyrics, and on Winds of Change for RTE’s Lyric FM. His latest show is Whiskey in the Jar, a musical for which he wrote the book and lyrics, with music by Dave 'Doc' O’Connor.

His adult novels Invincible, Flight, Payback and Pursuit have won widespread praise, and in more recent times he has concentrated on historical fiction for older children, writing the novels Across the Divide, Taking Sides, Secrets and Shadows and Storm Clouds.

He is currently working on a new novel.

Outside of writing his interests include travel, tennis, music and hill walking. He lives with his family in Dublin.

poignant … absorbing

The Swallows Nest

the impressive achievement of this historical novel is to present complex events lucidly and to convey their intensity. Readers of eleven upwards will be absorbed by the dramatic events which impact upon the lives of the four main characters

School Librarian Magazine

the reality of violence and its aftermath is well done

Historical Novels Review

would make a very good introduction to the history of the Northern Ireland conflict for children in their early teens

Historical Novels Review

should be compulsory reading for every Irish young person

captures a volatile Belfast so well

couldn’t put the book down

brings the past to life in a very readable, engaging way

while readers are familiar with wars that wrack distant parts of the world, this accurate depiction of violence in a familiar and seemingly benign area will surprise and educate many—a worthy accomplishment

Kirkus Reviews

just beautiful writing

Sunday Independent

ideal for age ten and up

Sunday Independent

without glossing over violence or partisan attitudes, the book delineates the conflict in an age-appropriate manner

Children’s Books Ireland Recommended Reads Guide 2013

thoroughly-researched historical fiction

Gallagher constructs a good tale, and doesn't shy away from tragedy

10 out of 10 … will never want to put it down ... a real page-turner

Brian Gallagher makes you feel as if you are really there

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

Also by Brian Gallagher:

Across the Divide
Taking Sides
Secrets and Shadows
Friend or Foe

Go to author page...

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