What’s new: Irish Echo book and music reviews

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HEART’S DESIRE

Niamh Parsons

Dubliner Niamh Parsons had a special incentive when she set about recording this, her latest CD on the Green Linnet label. Heart’s Desire is dedicated to her late father, Jack Parsons, a man with, according to Niamh, a beautiful voice and a great ear for a good song. Like father like daughter. Niamh Parsons has won considerable praise for her vocal talent and has been compared to the likes of Dolores Keane and June Tabor. Fans of both traditional and contemporary music can judge for themselves with Heart’s Desire, available in stores or from Green Linnet at (203)730-0333 or www.greenlinnet.com.

FINN MAC COOL

Morgan Llywelyn

Arguably Ireland’s great mythical hero is vividly brought to life by Llywelyn in this newly released trade paperback edition. Since 1976, Llywelyn, who lives outside Dublin, has been reworking both Ireland’s mythology and history into highly readable novels such as the bestselling “Lion of Ireland” and “1916″. The title of this book comes with a question underneath it. “Did the man become the legend or the legend become the man?” The answer is left to the reader. Tor Boos (www.tor.com). 400 pp. $15.95.

ARTHUR O’CONNOR

UNITED IRISHMAN

Jane Hayter Hames

Not a few of those United Irishmen who rose in 1798 found themselves on a convict ship bound for Australia. Some, however, found exile closer to home. Arthur O’Connor, from a landed family in Cork, was exiled to France after being tried for treason in England. He was fortunate in his sentence as he lived as a free man in the France of Napoleon and also well beyond the self-made emperor, returning to Ireland in 1834. O’Connor’s life reflected the turbulent politics of his time all the more by virtue of his hanging on to it when so many others lost theirs. The author is a descendant of O’Connor. Dufour Editions, Chester Springs. PA 19425 ([610] 458-5005). 333 pp. $32.95.

SHELTERING RAIN

Jojo Moyes

A tale of love, duty and the relationship between mothers and daughters, Sheltering Rain might have been the ideal gift for the Mother’s Day just past. But given that the author has been compared to M’ve Binchy, this would appear to be a book for all days, seasons and weathers. William Morrow a division of HarperCollins (www.harpercollins.com). 358 pp. $24.95.

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