Bookshelf Challenge – Book 11 – The Story of Lucy Gault

For the last few years, one of my besties has been doing the Unread Shelf challenge. The idea is (in part – it’s a bigger challenge than it looks) to use prompts to help a reader work through the Unread Titles on their shelves.

Inspired by her, I am in the midst of attempting to gain control over my unruly bookshelves, so have tallied up my UnRead Books.

Just fictional books – not including poetry, factual or eddyumacational books – ONLY fiction, you get me?

There’s now a WHOPPING 140 books. (Updated from GoodReads Shelf)

  • Unfinished = 1
  • Read =17 (2 are in the currently reading shelf)
  • Total to go = 120

That’s…that’s a bit much really.

So here’s where I tackle them, book by book – to finally figure out which are staying, which are going to be donated and which are going to be discarded unfinished. Oh yes, I’m in that sort of a ruthless mode!

My choice was

The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor

Summer, 1921.

Eight-year-old Lucy Gault clings to the glens and woods above Lahardane – the home her family is being forced to abandon.

She knows the Gaults are no longer welcome in Ireland and that danger threatens. Lucy, however, is headstrong and decides that somehow she must force her parents into staying. But the path she chooses ends in disaster.

One chance event, unwanted and unexpected, will blight the lives of the Gaults for years to come and bind each of them in different ways to this one moment in time, to this wild stretch of coast . . .

About the author

William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork. He has written many novels, and has won many prizes including the Hawthornden Prize, the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award, and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award.

His most recent novel Love and Summer was longlisted for the Booker Prize. He is also a renowned short-story writer, and his two-volume Collected Stories was published by Viking Penguin in 2009.

In 1999 William Trevor received the prestigious David Cohen Literature Prize in recognition of a lifetime’s literary achievement, and in 2002 he was knighted for his services to literature. He now lives in Devon.


This is one that had been sat on my shelves for many years – ignored and skipped over – despite having been passed onto me by my mum! You’d think I’d know better by now! My mum has impeccable taste.

Spurred on by Laini, I picked this as our readalong choice for April. It was one that we both flew through, the writing style immediately drawing us in; compelled to find out just that little bit more about Lucy and her self contained life. The author is measured and utterly confident in his scope of time frame and characters. It felt like reading a very assured book.

The characters too are equally grounded in their time period. The Gaults are inadvertently living through a significant moment in Irish history. history and as representatives of a soon to be disappeared class.

There is a palpable sense while reading this book, that we are getting glimpses into a world no longer possible. The isolation, the ability to consciously abandon your role and responsibilities, the freedom to just disappear with grief – these are options our modern world makes far more difficult.

Lucy is our bridge between that tumultuous time and our own, but she too is distinct and separate from us – as much by her faith and culture, as by her experiences of disappearing and returning to find no one remains to note it.

A very enjoyable read and one made better by the conversations we had weekly about it.

SCORE 7/10

  1. A Thousand Years of Good Prayer
  2. The Wood Beyond the World
  3. Stories of Trees, Woods and the Forest
  4. Lyras Oxford
  5. Once Upon A Time in the North
  6. Serpentine
  7. Glalatea
  8. The Book of 6
  9. The Ancient Guide to Modern Life
  10. Marina
  11. The Story of Lucy Gault (Laini)
  12. The Muses Pageant 3
  13. The Children of Jocasta (Laini)
  14. Dark Matter (Laini)
  15. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – already read
  16. Pandora’s Jar
  17. Dune (Laini)
  18. The Witchfinders Sister (Laini)
  19. The Women of Troy (Leeds Book Club)

Still to be written up from 11 onwards


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