Set against the backdrop of a world still reeling following WWI and headed toward another, 1949 is the third book in the Irish Century series. This time the story focuses on Ned Halloran's adopted daughter Ursala, who had once run messages for the Republicans through the streets of Dublin under fire during the Rebellion. Still a staunch Republican, Ursula longs for more and gets that chance when her fathers one-time friend Henry Mooney and his wife Ella offer to send her to school in Switzerland. Despite her fathers objections she goes and her eyes are opened to a whole new world. When she returns to Ireland, Ursula is a new person, though her passion for a free Ireland is still unquenched.
Like the first two novels in this series, 1916 and 1921, 1949 tells the history of Ireland as it struggles for freedom and a chance to join the rest of the nations on the world stage. Llywelyn deftly weaves fiction and history, setting characters of her own making right in amongst the real men and women who fought, and died, forr something worth dying for. What I truly love about these books is the passion with which they are written. Llywelyn is clearly an expert on the history of modern Ireland, all of her books include comprenshive lists of all those who play a role in this story, fictional and historical, even if their name is only mentioned in passing. At the end of the book are a complete set of source notes and bibliography and whenever necessary, especially for Gaelic language words or phrases there are footnotes with a translaton or explination. The books are detailed and historically accurate, but as works of fiction she is able to tell the story through the eyes of someone who was there. These books are a great introduction to the troubles that have plagued Ireland over the past century or more. They do have a very strong pro-Fenian bent, but that notwithstanding they are an excellent way to educate oneself on a war that is still being fought in a deeply ravaged Ireland.