An Excess of Love


“Riveting.”

– New York Daily News

“A lushly written saga of love and rebellion and Civil War.”

– Washington Post

Ireland at the turn of the century:  beautiful, restless, seething with high passions.

Poets and dreamers, rebels and aristocrats, caught in the crimson tide of revolution and desire.

An Excess of Love brings to vivid life the Irish struggle for independence and tells the story of a family who heroically paid the terrible price of freedom.


An Excess of Love Plot

The FitzGibbon sisters knew a loyalty to each other so strong, it had no limit… a love for Ireland so fierce, it defied an empire.  But the high passions of the times and their own natures swept them into the heart of Ireland’s bitter struggle for freedom… into a future that demanded sacrifice, daring and… an excess of love.

When Beth Fitzgibbon’s own marriage to aristocratic Edward Manningham proves cruelly disappointing, she discovers a talent for writing and becomes a renowned author.  She also discovers love with a courageous Irish Freedom Fighter, Seaneen O’ Sullivan, and theirs is an enduring passion, made stronger by its secrecy.

Dublin is a hotbed of Republican fervor, and Con and Tierney are at the center of it. With their comrades James Connolly, Padraig Pearse, and the Countess Markeievicz they suffer hunger strikes and imprisonment.  Finally they plan one of the most audacious rebellions of all time.  For six days, beginning Easter Monday 1916, a small force of men and women holds out against the British Empire, although the tragic outcome is never in doubt.  Beth is grief-stricken and, like her sister years before, she decides to give up everything to live with the man she loves, as the torch of revolution passes to a new generation.

It is Con and Tierney’s son Tahg who assumes the challenge of his parent’s unfinished dream. His fiercest foe is his arrogant cousin, Winston Manningham.  Jealousy over a beautiful actress, Kitty O’Neill, inflames their hatred, resulting in tragedy, and as civil war sweeps the nation, Beth and Seaneen’s young son is engulfed in the carnage.  When peace finally comes, it is Beth who bears witness to the fulfillment of a seven hundred-year-old dream passed from generation to generation.

Characters


Constance. Passionate and headstrong, she denies her birthright for the fever of love.

Elizabeth. Defying tradition to follow her heart, she provokes a price unbearable to pay.

Tierney. Endowed with the rare gift of the ancient bards, he risks everything for Ireland – even the woman he adores.

Seaneen. Firebrand and revolutionary, he raises a storm he cannot quell.

Tahg and Winston. Sons of devoted sisters, they are dangerous rivals and deadly enemies


An Excess of Love Excerpt

Chapter 1

I always loved my sister.  More than the world could ever understand.

Con was a wondrous child.  Headstrong, funny and with a lightning wit.  An old/young creature with a passionate nature and a sunny disposition – a combination not at all contradictory, despite the picture one has of people of high passions being brooding and contemplative.

She was anything but that.  She could ride like a child of centaurs from the moment she could walk.  She took chances that sent the grooms into agonies of apprehension for her safety, yet she seemed protected by angels, for never in her life was she so much as bruised in the effort of horsemanship.

My father was enthralled by her joie de vivre, her robust, spirit, her equestrienne gifts, her love of hunting and all outdoor sports – rare qualities in a little girl in those times.

Looking back now, it’s easy to see that everything about her tended to inspire superlatives…the most passionate, the most headstrong, the most loyal. She was the rarest soul I’ve ever known and, in the end, the gentlest of us all.

Constance Fitzgibbon, she was born – with her high heart and her spirit deep as the bog and wild as the sea that lapped the strand beyond our childhood home.  She was the best of us.  Perhaps she was the best we mortals can ever be.

It isn’t easy for me now – even after all the years that separate us – this telling of her story, considering my love for her, and the fact that her life has become the stuff of legends.  How could she have become entangled in wilder schemes than I could ever dream?  In schemes that some thought foolish and others glorious.  I’ve asked myself that question countless times through all the long years. I’m seventy-five years of age, as I begin this memoir, and have had ample time to ponder.  But in truth I know the answer, for all the schemes she lived were honorable and courageous.  My sister, you see, had always, even as a little girl, been both.

Looking back across the years, I cannot help but wonder if all the fatherly camaraderie, which seemed so good for the child in its time, was in reality what set her on the briar patch she was to tread.  Had he never taught her to shoot, might it be that I would never have seen her as she was that fearful Easter Friday morning at the barricade, commanding a troop of ragtag and bobtail rebels in the last desperate days of the Uprising?  Despite the more than thirty years that have passed by since, I can see her  clearly now as she was then, tall and spare, in her soldier’s motley, a blood soaked bandage wound unnoticed around her ribs, a rifle at her shoulder, carried with the casual pride of one who knows full well how to use it.  An ancient warrior queen like Maeve, she seemed to me that day; and yet she cried as we embraced, fearing never again to see each other on this side of eternity.

Had she not been taught by my father to compete and to fancy herself any man’s equal, would she have had the courage to defy an empire?  Or is it simply that all our fates are in God’s hidden place and my sister , like the rest of us, merely went about the business of fulfilling her destiny, with never a choice possible but to do so.  Perhaps the why of it doesn’t matter now …

And so to begin…the tale of her life and of mine, of all those whom I have loved, living or dead – and, of course, of that strange fated place, or state of mind, that wove the threads to the tangled skein of all our destinies – Ireland.


An Excess of Love Reviews

“Riveting!  A cast of rich characters that do honor to the novel’s rich material.”

The New York Daily News

“Powerful.”

Chicago Sun Times

“Larger than Life.”

The Boston Irish Echo

“(Cathy Cash Spellman) is the Irish American answer to Howard Fast.”

Kirkus Reviews

“This exceptionally touching, moving novel… wrenches the heart strings.”

Romantic Times

“A well-crafted and entertaining story.”

The Detroit News

“A lushly written saga of love and rebellion and Civil War.”

Washington Post