Fiction Ireland

Blood Sisters

Blood SistersValerie MinerThe Women’s Press1981

Blood Sisters has at its hear two Irish sisters, Gerry and Polly, who grew up steeped in the ideals of the 1916 uprising. Their lives separated when Polly married, went to California, eventually becoming mother to a son and daughter. Gerry stayed in Ireland, later marrying too, a charmer with whom she had one daughter.

As the novel opens those two daughters are meeting for the first time, in London. Polly’s daughter, Liz, has turned her energy to the women’s liberation movement. Gerry’s daughters, Beth, fights for Irish freedom as an activist in the Provisional wing of the IRA.

The two young women are soon deeply engaged in attempting to understand each other’s ideals, to cross the blurred lines between private and political life. But they are divided by their separate histories, by Liz’s relationship with her lover, Gwen; by Beth’s love for Larry, Liz’s brother. Most of all they are divided by their political priorities: Liz’s to women, Beth’s to Ireland.

Blood Sisters beautifully combines several themes within the tense format of a thriller: the relationship between women of different generations; the choice of allegiance between male and female-identified politics; the struggle for the Irish people to discover and create their own history.