An Irish Castle to Call Your Own
An Irish Castle to Call Your Own is a novel by the American writer Edna Ferber, first published in 1946 by Harper & Brothers, London. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1947, and was chosen as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century by Modern Library in 1997.
The story is set in Ireland, in the early 1930s, shortly after World War I. It tells the story of a young man, Jimmy O’Hara, and his love for a beautiful but unprincipled Irishwoman, Rosamund “Rose” Kennedy. Their love is not without its problems of course, though they both have their difficulties with the prejudices and customs of the day. The novel follows their first encounter.
Jimmy O’Hara grew up in a Catholic, working class Irish neighborhood in New York. He is the son of Irish immigrants, the head of the O’Hara laundry business, and is a member of the Fenian Brotherhood. He is very handsome and in love with Rose Kennedy, an Irish woman he meets at a Protestant church, though this is not the love story she is looking for. Jimmy’s father makes a deal for the family’s laundry business to be run by Rose. Jimmy, however, is not happy with his mother and father’s arrangement and vows that he will find a way to get his family out of the dirty business.
Jimmy and Rose become friends after meeting in New York’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Rose asks him to visit her in Ireland. She plans to take him to Ireland, but he is unable to go because of a series of mishaps that force him to remain in New York. Rosamund is determined to take Jimmy back to Dublin for Rose to meet her parents. Once in Ireland, Rose’s mother, Emily Ryan, is very suspicious of Rose’s plans to get “in town” and Jimmy is forced to do something that he hopes the townspeople will not disapprove of.
Rose and Jimmy meet with “Uncle Willie”, her uncle, who is a Catholic priest. Rose and Jimmy plan their escape from Ireland, with Willie’s blessing, and Rosamund’s blessings. However, it is not easy to get their story straight with Mrs Ryan, because of Rose’s family background and the Irish prejudices against Catholics. Rose’s mother hates Rosamund for wanting to meet the Ryan family because she is afraid of Rose’s