Currently reading Grania by Morgan Llywelyn. This is another my mom lent me, but Llywelyn is not at all new to me; I've been a fan of hers for some time, ever since I picked up The Horse Goddess to pass a flight to visit my dad several years ago.
One thing I love about her: she knows her facts. As a historical fiction writer, she's got it all-- she knows the legends, the mannerisms and customs, the dress and architecture. Each of her novels are set in Ireland, but she refuses to get stuck in one time period. She knows ancient Ireland, druidic Ireland, transitional Ireland.
Grania takes place in Elizabethan Ireland, when the Virgin Queen is invading the land. Our heroin, Grainne Ni Maille (also known as Grania, called Grace O'Malley by the English) has just suffered the loss of her greatest love-- her ship. Raised to sail, that ship was a dream fulfilled. Forced to return to her estranged husband's home, Grania should feel defeated. Instead, she is locked in the safety of her sanctuary, already plotting her next move.
Until the head of her branch of the O Flaherty clan dies, leaving her in charge of her husband's kinsmen. Grania now has a new direction, a new place to expel her energy, but she does not forget her own goals. And with the growing threat of England looming in the north, she is about to embark on more than just a seafaring expedition.