Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohue

Setting: New York City and Ireland
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: August 30, 2016

In Ashes of Fiery Weather, readers meet different women in the O'Reilly and Keegan family. The story begins in the early 1980s as Norah O'Reilly attends her husband, a firefighter's, funeral. While others give their condolences, Norah can't help but worry about her and her children's futures, especially the future of her unborn child. The story ranges from the early part of the 20th century all the way to present day.

Also featured in Ashes of Fiery Weather is Delia, Norah's mother-in-law, who keeps her children close and hides her own secrets. Eileen, Norah's sister-in-law is the first female to make it onto the NYFD, and her experiences on 9/11 also play a part in this story. There's Norah's daughter, Maggie, and a mystery woman who has her own place in the story. These are just some of the characters, in order the stories told feature:

  • Norah O'Reilly
  • Delia Keegan O'Reilly
  • Mattie Starwaif Cullen
  • Annie-Rose Devlin Keegan
  • Maggie O'Reilly
  • Eileen O'Reilly Maddox
  • Katie McKenna

I was drawn into Norah's story from the first sentence. It was easily to feel her pain and uncertainty. Her children's anger and grief was equally apparent. Here's the problem. Norah's story ends and the novel jumps to a new character and time period. I didn't like that aspect. The shifts came too frequently and drew me from the story. I really would have preferred if the focus remained on Norah.


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