New York food writer Tressa returns from honeymoon worried that she has married her impossibly handsome new husband Dan out of late-thirties panic instead of love.
In 1930's Ireland, her grandmother, Bernadine, is married off to the local schoolteacher after her family are unable to raise a dowry for her to marry her true love, Michael.
During the first year of her marriage, Tressa distracts herself from her stay-or-go dilemma by working on her grandmother's recipes, searching for solace and answers through their preparation.
Through the stories of these two women The Perfect Marriage challenges the modern ideal of romantic love as a given and ponders whether true love can really be learned.
*Originally published as Recipes for a Perfect Marriage.*
Now she is back and wants to uncover the truth about what really went on between her family and their friends, the O’Donovans, during Ireland’s bitter Civil War.
The consequences of that division in the 1920s carried down into Jo’s own life, shattering her relationship with Rory O’Donovan, the only man she ever loved and driving her to leave Ireland.
Now, Jo’s estranged mother has died, leaving her a suitcase full of letters and diaries that may answer questions about the past.
Was her great-uncle really murdered by Dan O’Donovan, his best friend?
What would drive somebody to do that?
And what part did her beloved grandmother play in this conflict?
Jo's happy life in San Francisco has been unraveling since her friend Richard died last year. So now, much to her own surprise, she decides to stay on in Mucknamore and see if the letters and diaries bequeathed by her mother might provide the key to unlock the truth.
Over the course of a long hot summer, Jo draws close again to Rory, who still lives in Mucknamore and is mired in an unhappy marriage. As she tells him about their shared family past, they realize their love affair was doomed long before they were born.
Now that they know, can there be a second chance at happiness? Rory is urging her to rebel, to forget the past and start over again.
But reading their shared history has made Jo cautious. The strength of her feelings frightens her. Is there any way she can be true to Rory and herself, but also to the family she rejected when she was young and headstrong?
After The Rising is a sweeping, multigenerational tale set in the 1920s and 1990s Ireland and 1980s San Francisco. It is the first book in The Irish Trilogy, followed by Before the Fall.
This is perfect for fans of Barbara Erskine, MJ Lee or Anne Griffin.