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The Story of Lucy Gault

by William Trevor

The story commences in Lahardane, Ireland in 1921. It is a time of change when Anglo-Irish families like the Gaults are facing the upheaval brought about by the struggle for Irish independence - a theme explored in lighter tones in Troubles* by J.G. Farrell.
Everard and Heloise Gaults' home has come under attack and they feel that it is time for them and their only much-loved child, Lucy, to move on to a safer place. They decide to entrust the care of their home to their loyal servants Bridget and Henry.
Eight year-old Lucy does not want to leave her beloved home and she does not fully understand seriousness of the situation, asking if she can stay with Bridget and Henry until her parents return. This is the only place she has known, with its woods and streams and magical sea-shore where Lucy spends so much of her time waving and talking to the fishermen and swimming in the icy cold waters. So she decides to take matters into her own hands - with catastrophic results.
What follows is a tragedy for all involved and as the years go by and the results of Lucy's action unfold a sadder story is hard to imagine.
Like the child, Briony, in Ian McEwan's Atonement *, Lucy Gault spends her life waiting to be forgiven.
This book is deeply moving. So lyrical is the writing and so tragic the story it should be set to music and named The Ballad of Lucy Gault.
This is story telling at its best.

* See our reviews of Troubles and Atonement in the Archive.


Breathtakingly sad without an ounce of mawkishness. William Trevor is a genius. If your bookgroup hasn't read him, make this your next read.

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