Review | After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

After the Silence

by Louise O’Neill

Adult Mystery, Thriller

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Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years.
Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but on-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

I am such a huge fan of Louise O’Neill so I was incredibly excited when I got my hands on a copy of this book, so much so that I dropped everything else to start it.

In a different than usual genre for O’Neill, her fifth novel, this time again for adults, follows the mystery of Nessa Crawley and what happened to her on that fatal night on the offshore Irish island of Inisrún. It has been 10 years but now a documentary crew have arrived to find the answers in the silence.

This had such a strong hook that I was almost scared it would not live up to it, but I was so wrong. I loved this book so much. I am mesmerized at just how well crafted this story was—O’Neill reveals the mystery to us slowly through a series of different narratives, from the past, the present, interviews—but she really weaves them together so seamlessly that at no point during the novel was I lost or confused. This novel is really a masterclass in storytelling.

The characters were all so strong as well, and I thought the portrayal of domestic violence—in all its shapes and forms—was done incredibly well and incredibly sensitively. Keelin Kinsella is one of my favourite characters I’ve read in a long time. I definitely think this is for fans of I May Destroy You, and also Daisy Jones & The Six.

I feel like it’s so obvious to call this book ‘gripping’, just like many of the blurbs, but this is genuinely one of the most gripping novels I’ve ever read. I wouldn’t usually race through a book as long as this but I did with After the Silence, because I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Honestly, it felt as though the world was going to end if I did not find out what happened to Nessa Crawley.

After the Silence is out today in all good bookstores, and I can assure you this is definitely one for your bookshelves. There is no question about it—O’Neill has just delivered her best book yet.

Review: Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

almost love

Almost Love

by Louise O’Neill

Adult Contemporary Fiction

If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not love: the gripping new novel from the bestselling author of Asking for It. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult.

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.
So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.
But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.
And love is supposed to hurt.
Isn’t it?

If you’ve not read a Louise O’Neill novel, then I really don’t know what kind of rock you’ve been living under because her writing is so powerful and moving and it’s impossible not to get obsessed with her as an author after you read just one single page.

“Love was holding your breath until they texted you. Love was waiting for them to decide that you’re good enough.”

This novel, just like her previous two, was captivating from the first line. I think I especially liked Almost Love because it’s similar in a way to the book I’m currently writing – they share the common theme of unhealthy and toxic relationships.

What I especially like about Louise is that she writes really unlikeable protaganists. Like Emma in Asking For It, Sarah who is a character who is definitely going to get on your nerves at some point through this story. Be it her selfishness, or the way she treats those who love her, she’s going to piss you off. But that’s okay. Because O’Neill does a fab job of showing that you don’t have to be a likeable character for people to have sympathy for you. Sarah has had a hard life, impacting her current friendships and relationships, and it’s so hard not to feel a pity for her. To root her on and to find her eventual happiness.

This book was incredibly addictive for me. Every time I had to put it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about Sarah and Matthew and I just wanted to absorb it all in one go. Probably my favourite O’Neill book to date, despite it being an adult novel, and I would encourage every one to read it!! You’ll get completely drawn into Sarah’s world of being a struggling artist while having to cope with an unhealthy relationship with an older man. O’Neill does an amazing job of knitting so much feelings of guilt and passion throughout the book that it would simply be a shame not to read!

5 star

Review: Asking For It, by Louise O’Neill


Author: Louise O’Neill
Publisher: Quercus
Release Date: 3rd September 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Feminism
Pages: 346

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does. 

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

This book was a fantastic, well-written story of Emma O’Donovan – an eighteen-year-old girl who goes to a party and gets gang-raped by four of the most popular boys in her small town. When she wakes the next morning, lying on her front porch in serious pain, she can’t remember what happened the previous night. It’s only when the pictures of her emerge online that she remembers the real truth.

“They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”

This book was so amazing to show what society is really like, how they just brush over the victim in rape cases, e.g. Brock Turner SMH. Anyways, what I liked most about this book is the fact that O’Neill made the victim a despicable person. For me anyways, when I started the book,  didn’t particularly like Emma as a person, I thought she was a vain and horrible person.

That’s what makes this book fantastic… it makes it harder to feel sorry for the victim for a bad person, but that shouldn’t be the case. Even if the victim, like Emma, is a bad person – NOBODY DESERVES TO GET RAPED. NOBODY.
I felt really sorry for Emma’s friends in the story and I hated Emma’s parents ngl. Her dad just didn’t understand that she was raped and she was telling the truth. The whole town of Ballinatoom didn’t even believe her because her rapists were seen as the town’s heroes and idols.

Like I can’t gush about this book enough. I’m sad to say it but it’s needed. It’s so terribly needed and so important for every member of every generation to read it because they need to understand.
We need to talk about rape.
Anyways, I’m gonna end this review with some lines I found amazing and I hope this will have convinced you to read this and enjoy it like I have.

““My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.””

““I am not falling apart. I am being ripped at the seams, my insides torn out until I am hollow.””

““What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
“I don’t know, Em.” Bryan takes a gulp from his water bottle. “It’s a bit slutty, isn’t it?”
I stare pointedly at the FHM poster Blu-Tacked on the wall opposite the bed, of some topless model, one finger in her mouth, the other hand reaching into her knickers.
“That’s different.”” 

So, like, obviously, it goes without saying that this book deserves 5 [million] stars out of 5.