6 Best Jean Grainger Books to Read – Irish Historical Fiction

If you’re looking for an immersive and emotional reading experience, then look no further than the works of Irish author Jean Grainger. Known for her ability to weave tales that bring the history and culture of Ireland to life, Grainger’s novels are a treat for any lover of historical fiction. In this article, we’ll explore Jean Grainger’s life and inspiration, before delving into her best works. Through her books, we’ll explore some of the most significant moments in Irish history and get a sense of life in Ireland today. So sit back, relax and let’s dive into the best Jean Grainger Books to Read Now.

6 Best Jean Grainger Books to Read - Irish Historical Fiction

Who is Jean Grainger?

Jean Grainger is a bestselling author from Cork, Ireland. A former teacher, she took to writing after her retirement and has since published over ten books, all of which are set in Ireland. Known for her meticulous research, Grainger’s novels offer a glimpse into Irish history and culture and have earned her a loyal following of readers from around the world.

A Brief Biography of Jean Grainger

Born and raised in the picturesque coastal town of Kinsale, Grainger has always had a love for writing. She pursued a career in teaching after completing her education and spent many years working with children before turning to writing.

Throughout her teaching career, Grainger continued to write in her free time, honing her craft and developing her unique voice. It wasn’t until her retirement that she was able to devote herself fully to writing.

Grainger’s first novel, ‘The Tour,’ was published in 2013 and quickly became a bestseller. Since then, she has focused entirely on writing and has published multiple series, standalone novels, and short stories.

Despite her success, Grainger remains humble and dedicated to her craft. She continues to write every day, always striving to improve and create stories that resonate with readers.

The Inspiration Behind Her Stories

Grainger’s passion for Ireland and its history comes through in her novels. She credits her initial inspiration to her father, who was a keen storyteller. She recalls listening to his stories as a child, not realizing how much of an impact they would have on her later in life.

As an adult, Grainger has continued to draw inspiration from Ireland’s rich history and culture. She is particularly interested in the country’s struggles for independence and the impact of the Troubles on everyday life.

When it comes to research, Grainger takes a hands-on approach. She travels extensively throughout Ireland, visiting historical sites, meeting locals, and conducting interviews to ensure her novels are as accurate as possible. Her attention to detail and commitment to authenticity have earned her the respect of readers and critics alike.

Overall, Jean Grainger is a talented and dedicated writer whose love for Ireland shines through in her work. Her novels offer a window into the country’s past and present, and her commitment to research ensures that they are both entertaining and informative.

The Best Jean Grainger Books to Start With

If you’re new to Jean Grainger’s work, then it can be challenging to know where to start. Her books are often part of a series, but don’t let that put you off. Each book stands on its own and can be read independently of any other.

The Tour Series

The Tour Series

This series follows a colorful cast of characters as they embark on a tour of Ireland. From a widower in search of solace to a mother and daughter seeking to mend their relationship, this heartwarming series offers a glimpse into the beauty of Ireland. Start with ‘The Tour‘ and work your way through the rest of the series.

In ‘The Tour’, Grainger introduces us to a group of tourists who are exploring Ireland. We follow them as they visit famous landmarks, sample local cuisine, and immerse themselves in the culture. Along the way, they encounter unexpected challenges and heartwarming moments that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.

In ‘The Story of Grenville Island’, the second book in the series, Grainger takes us to a remote island off the coast of Ireland. Here, we meet a cast of characters who are struggling to keep their community alive. With stunning descriptions of the island’s rugged landscape and a cast of characters that will capture your heart, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves stories about the power of community.

The Star and the Shamrock Series

The Star and the Shamrock

This series explores the lives of Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, ‘The Star and the Shamrock‘ follows the lives of Ruth and Shoshana, two Jewish immigrants who fled persecution in Europe to start a new life in Ireland. This series is a stirring reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. Start with ‘The Star and the Shamrock’ before moving on to ‘Sunrise on the Coast’ and ‘Safe at the Edge of the World.’

In ‘The Star and the Shamrock’, Grainger introduces us to Ruth and Shoshana, two women who have fled persecution in Europe and are starting a new life in Ireland. As they struggle to adapt to their new home, they encounter bigotry and prejudice, but also find unexpected kindness and friendship. This book is a moving tribute to the courage and resilience of those who have been forced to flee their homes.

In ‘Sunrise on the Coast’, the second book in the series, Grainger takes us to the west coast of Ireland, where Ruth and Shoshana are building a new life for themselves. As they navigate the challenges of starting a business and making new friends, they also confront the painful memories of their past. This book is a beautiful meditation on the power of friendship and the importance of healing.

The Carmel Sheehan Series

The Carmel Sheehan Story

In this series, Grainger explores the impact of historical events on everyday people. Set in the aftermath of the Irish War of Independence, the series follows Carmel Sheehan, a young girl whose world is turned upside down by the conflict. This series is a reminder that the most significant changes often come from the actions of the smallest players. Start with ‘The Easter uprising’ before moving onto ‘Beyond the Horizon’ and ‘Among the Branded.’

In ‘The Easter Uprising’, Grainger takes us back to 1916, when Ireland was in the midst of a struggle for independence. Through the eyes of Carmel Sheehan, we see the impact of the conflict on ordinary people. As Carmel’s family is torn apart by the violence, she must navigate a world that has been forever changed. This book is a powerful reminder of the human cost of war.

In ‘Beyond the Horizon’, the second book in the series, Grainger takes us to the United States, where Carmel has emigrated in search of a better life. As she navigates the challenges of starting over in a new country, she also confronts the painful memories of her past. This book is a moving exploration of the immigrant experience and the power of hope.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of Jean Grainger or a newcomer to her work, these books are sure to capture your heart and inspire your imagination. So why not start reading today?

Standalone Novels by Jean Grainger

If you’re looking for a single novel that encapsulates the best of Jean Grainger’s writing, then any of these standalone novels would be an excellent place to start.

Shadow of a Century

Shadow of a Century: An Irish Love Story

In this novel, Grainger explores the complex relationship between Ireland and Britain. Set in both present-day and 1916, this novel follows the journey of Caroline, a young woman searching for answers about her family’s past. Caroline’s journey takes her through the lush green countryside of Ireland, where she discovers secrets that have been buried for generations. She meets people who are fighting for their identity and their freedom, and she begins to understand the deep-rooted conflict between Ireland and Britain. Interwoven with the history of Ireland, this is a novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

As Caroline delves deeper into her family’s past, she discovers a connection to the Easter Rising of 1916, a pivotal moment in Irish history. Grainger’s vivid descriptions of the events of the Rising will transport you back in time, and you’ll feel as though you’re standing on the streets of Dublin alongside the rebels.

You can find this book here.

So Much Owed

So Much Owed: An Irish World War 2 Story

This novel explores the impact of the First World War on Ireland and its people. Set in the fictional town of Ulverdale, Grainger follows the journey of the Devereaux family as they struggle to come to terms with the conflict. The Devereaux family is torn apart by the war, and each member must find the strength to carry on in their own way. Grainger’s writing captures the heartache and loss of war, but also the resilience and hope that can emerge in its aftermath.

As the war rages on, the people of Ulverdale must come together to support each other. Grainger’s descriptions of the community’s efforts to help those affected by the war are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. This novel is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is hope and resilience.

You can find this book here.

What Once Was True

What Once Was True: An Irish WW2 Story (The Robinswood Story Book 1)

This novel explores the lives of two families living in an Irish manor house. Set in both present-day and the early 20th century, this novel is a journey through time that will leave you breathless. At the heart of the novel is the story of the Healy family, who have lived at the manor house for generations. The family is facing financial difficulties and must decide whether to sell the house, which holds so much history and memories.

Grainger’s writing brings the manor house to life, and you’ll feel as though you’re walking through its halls and gardens. The Healy family’s story is interwoven with that of the neighboring MacNamaras, whose lives are also deeply connected to the manor house. As the two families’ stories unfold, Grainger explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. Poignant and powerful, ‘What Once Was True‘ is a novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Exploring Irish History and Culture Through Grainger’s Novels

One of the unique aspects of Jean Grainger’s writing is her ability to bring the history and culture of Ireland to life. Here, we’ll explore some of the themes and historical events that Grainger covers in her novels.

The Great Famine and Irish Emigration

Grainger’s novels explore the impact of the Great Famine on Ireland and its people. Through the eyes of her characters, we see the devastation and the suffering that occurred during this period. Grainger also explores the impact of emigration on Ireland and its people, showing how it shaped the country we know today.

The Troubles and the Irish War of Independence

In her Carmel Sheehan series, Grainger explores the impact of the Irish War of Independence on everyday people. Through Carmel’s eyes, we see the struggle for Irish independence and the lasting impact it had on the country.

The Role of Women in Irish Society

In many of her novels, Grainger explores the changing role of women in Irish society. From the suffragette movement to the changing social norms of the early 20th century, Grainger’s novels offer a glimpse into the lives of women who shaped Ireland’s history.


If you’re looking for an immersive and emotional reading experience, then look no further than Jean Grainger. Through her novels, we explore the history and culture of Ireland and see the impact of historical events on everyday people. Whether you’re new to her work or a longtime fan, there’s never been a better time to discover the best Jean Grainger books to read now.


Who is Jean Grainger?

Jean Grainger is an Irish author known for writing historical and modern Irish fiction. She has reached the USA Today bestseller’s list numerous times and currency resides in Cork with her husband and children.

What is Jean Grainger known for?

Jean Grainger is known for writing novels either about Irish culture or set in dramatic Irish landscapes. Many of her novels are romantic, but others shed light on the personal effects of historical events.

What books has Jean Grainger written?

Grainger has written titles such as The Tour, What Divides Us, The Trouble With Secrets, The Emerald Horizon, and The Star and the Shamrock.

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Eddison Monroe