Cyril Avery doesn’t belong. Adopted into the Avery family after his mom, an unwed 16-year-old, gave him to a passing Nun, he has been told his entire life that his family will never love him. He will never belong.
Cyril also realizes, quite early on, that he is gay. He knows this is both something to be hidden and something that is very dangerous in the era he lives in. Ireland at the time was at the mercy of the Catholic church.
He is also in love with his best friend, Julien Woodbead. Julien has no idea that Cyril is gay.
As the reader delves into the story, we are taken on a journey of Cyril’s life. His struggles to live his life and stay hidden are often heartbreaking. Through various jobs, loves, friendships, we are reminded that he is never really truly being himself.
In the background are the changes that Ireland goes through from sole power of the Catholic church to the slow handing over to the Irish government.
The stunning conclusion to this, knowing what what a fictional character must have felt, absolutely broke me.
The persecution that LGBTQ2S+ communities dealt with and continue to deal with is on stunning display here. It’s horrifying. Please take the time to learn more about what they face; the book is available here.