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Mad Puppetstown (1931) County Carlow

Mad Puppetstown by Molly Keane aka M.J.Farrell

‘For houses can be as jealous as lovers and mothers, and under provocation more bitter than either. Nor do houses ever forget. What are ghosts but the remembrances they shelter?’

In the early 1900s Easter lives with her Aunt Brenda, her cousins Evelyn and Basil, and their Great-Aunt Dicksie in an imposing country house, Puppetstown, which casts a spell over their childhood. Here they spend carefree days taunting the peacocks in Aunt Dicksie’s garden, shooting snipe and woodcock, hunting, and playing with Patsy, the boot boy.

But the house and its inhabitants are not immune to the ‘little, bitter, forgotten war in Ireland’ and when it finally touches their lives all flee to England. All except Aunt Dicksie who refuses to surrender Puppetstown’s magic. She stays on with Patsy, living in a corner of the deserted house while in England the cousins are groomed for Society.

But for two of them those wild, lost Puppetstown years cannot be forgotten.