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A tale of two islands

Irish bestselling author Carmel Harrington, whose new novel, The Girl from Donegal, takes place partly in modern-day Bermuda (Photograph by Patrick Browne photography)

A bestselling author felt like she was “going home” during her first trip to the island — so much so, Bermuda ended up being one of the settings for a new novel.

Carmel Harrington told The Belfast Telegraph: “When we went to visit Bermuda, I felt like I was almost going home — I felt a very strong connection there.

“It’s very English as a community; it’s an English town but there are Irish connections there everywhere you look.

“I’d never been, I knew very little about it.”

Ms Harrington’s experience in Bermuda led her to make it a key location in her new novel, The Girl from Donegal.

The book takes place in Bermuda and Northern Ireland, and shifts between 1939 and the present day.

In 1939, Eliza Lavery, a character in the book, is depressed, owing to losing family members and her fiancé during the Irish civil war almost 20 years prior.

However, a trip to Bermuda changes her mindset and helps her find inner strength.

The Irish Civil War was fought between 1922 and 1923 as supporters of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and those against it clashed.

The treaty allowed for Ireland to be a part of the British Empire, with King George V serving as its head of state.

Saoirse O’Donnell, another character in the novel, discovers a surprising connection to Eliza in 2022.

Referring to Eliza’s character, Ms Harrington told The Belfast Telegraph: “I wrote her story and I loved her finding out her own strength and she didn’t realise that she was capable of the things that she ended up doing — I love writing women like that.

“Sometimes they rise to the occasion and sometimes they don’t.

“And I think that’s really interesting to work out as you start writing characters, they can’t all be perfect.”

To learn more about The Girl from Donegal and Carmel Harrington’s other works, visit her website

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Published May 01, 2023 at 7:36 am (Updated May 01, 2023 at 7:36 am)

A tale of two islands

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