Becoming Belle Reviews

Becoming Belle

“Nuala O’Connor has the thrilling ability to step back nimbly and enter the deep dance of time?this is a hidden history laid luminously before us of an exultant Anglo-Irish woman navigating the dark shoals and the bright fields of a life.”

Sebastian Barry, award-winning author of The Secret Scripture and Days Without End

Becoming Belle is a glorious novel in which Belle Bilton and 19th century London are brought roaring to life with exquisite period detail. In her portrayal of Belle, Nuala O’Connor delivers a seductive study of a complex and fascinating woman, who deserves the stage provided for her in this wonderful book.”

Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of A Memory of Violets

“O’Connor has a genius for finding the universal and unifying life essence of seemingly diverse women as they nurture their deepest sensibilities and draw upon their enduring strength. … O’Connor’s rendering of a now little-known nineteenth-century music hall dancer in Becoming Belle is thrillingly dramatic and achingly moving and profoundly resonant into this present era.”

Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

“Nuala O’Connor is a gifted writer who, with incandescent characters and mellifluous prose, captivates the reader with the same command as magnificent theatre. Becoming Belle is so mesmerizing you will be distraught when it ends and you remember that she lives no more. O’Connor has resurrected a fiery, inexorable woman who rewrites the script on a stage supposedly ruled by men. Sensual, witty, daring, and unapologetically forward, Belle Bilton and her cohorts will dance on in your mind long after the curtains fall.”

Lisa Carey, author of The Stolen Child

“A thoroughly engrossing and entertaining read. O’Connor’s meticulous attention to period detail and scrutiny of the upper classes and their shallow lives [is] reminiscent of Edith Wharton at her very best. It also makes us question whether women have ever really escaped from the censorious judgement of Victorian times.”

Liz Nugent, author of Unraveling Oliver

Becoming Belle

Becoming Belle

Becoming Belle is a witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London.
In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.
With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle, and takes the city by storm, facing unthinkable hardships as she rises to fame. A true bohemian and the star of a dancing double act she performs with her sister, she reigns over The Empire Theatre and The Corinthian Club, where only select society entertains. It is there she falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, but his ruthless father makes clear he’ll stop at nothing to keep her in her place.
Re-imagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story a la Becky Sharpe.
Becoming Belle will be published in August 2018, and is available to pre-order now.

 

Joyride to Jupiter Reviews

“O’Connor’s language is clean and conscientious as well as poetic and lyrical, evident in the abstraction of “Yellow”. The collection exudes a quiet confidence and exercises the exemplary restraint of a seasoned writer who knows when to pull rather than push.”

Louisa Carroll The Sunday Times – 04-June-2017

“This blending of wry, caustic irreverence and meditative poignancy is central to the success of O’Connor’s storytelling. The mix is just right…”

Houman Barekat Irish Times – 10-June-2017

“Like a volume of rich poetry, this collection begs to be returned to again and again.”

Anne Cunningham Sunday Independent – 18-June-2017

“…Outstanding…”

Evening Echo – 23-June-2017

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Miss Emily Reviews

The Noise of Time initially appears to be the latest addition to a hybrid literary form with which we are increasingly familiar – the fictional biography. Recent examples range from Colm Tóibin’s The Master (which presented a repressed and unhappy Henry James) to Nuala O’Connor’s excellent Miss Emily (which gave us a wilful and tormented Emily Dickinson).

Alex Preston, The Guardian

“…Irish writer Nuala O’Connor breathes new life into reclusive poet Emily Dickinson in her mesmerizing U.S. debut. Like one of Dickinson’s poems, the deceptively simple narrative packs a powerful punch…”

Margaret Flanagan in Booklist

“Miss Emily is a triumph of a novel, creating an utterly human and believable Emily Dickinson through the eyes of an enchanting and complex fictional Irish woman. Their story is smart and witty and harrowing and brilliantly revelatory of the interplay of life and inspiration in a nascent great artist. And all this is done in prose that has the same condensed, particularizing power of Dickinson’s poetry. Nuala O’Connor has long been one of my favorite contemporary Irish writers. She will certainly find an ardently admiring American audience with this extraordinary novel.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler

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The Closet of Savage Mementos Reviews

“…raw, beautiful and compelling, a ‘must read’.”

Deirdre Conroy in The Sunday Independent

“…her finest novel yet.”

The Sunday Times

“Compelling and deeply accomplished, The Closet of Savage Mementos is the product of a powerful literary talent.”

The Evening Echo

“It is difficult to write sex well, but Ní Chonchúir manages to strike a delicate balance between passion and poetry.”

The Sunday Business Post

“…this engaging book…this most readable novel.”

Irish Independent

Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s characters and their relationships have about them that most precious and elusive quality: the ring of truth.’

Gerard Stembridge

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Also writes as Nuala Ní Chonchúir

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