Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, a shattering novel about a young woman caught between allegiance to community and a dangerous passion.

Amid daily reports of violence, Cushla lives a quiet life with her mother in a small town near Belfast. By day, she teaches at a parochial school; at night she fills in at her family’s pub. There she meets Michael Agnew, a barrister who’s made a name for himself defending IRA members. Against her better judgment – Michael is not only Protestant, but older, and married – Cushla lets herself get drawn in by him and his sophisticated world, and an affair ignites. Then the father of a student is savagely beaten, setting in motion a chain reaction that will threaten everything, and everyone, Cushla most wants to protect.


This was marvelous. The cast, setting, pacing, and overall narrative; everything felt like it was alive in this glittering novel. I didn't want it to end. 

Kennedy’s writing felt like a gift. She paints a clear picture of tragic times, yet never fails to entertain with sarcastic undertones and the use of characters with big personalities like Gina and Davy, both of whom I came to adore.

What was most wonderful, was how Belfast came alive. It's my home city portrayed through the lens of one young woman coming of age during the Troubles.

Trespasses was deeply moving. What a terrific accomplishment. 

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Louise Kennedy grew up near Belfast. Trespasses is her first novel. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac. She has written for the Guardian, the Irish Times, and BBC Radio 4. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a chef for almost thirty years. She lives in Sligo, Ireland.

Trespasses is available for purchase in hardcover and audiobook format. Check IndieBound for a retailer near you.