This is one of the books from my childhood. I was in fourth class when our teacher first read this to us. I fell in love. From there I bough all three books and read them myself. To this day I can still remember reading these books, and this book was what got me hooked. It's my favourite in the trilogy.
The book is based in the time of the great famine of Ireland. It's about three kids who fight for their lives and are determined to find their relatives. For a children's book it has a lot of tragedy. The saddest scene for me was when baby Bridget died. I don't even remember being scarred by the death, and this was the saddest book of my childhood, easily.
It takes some time at a young age to read through everything. We see sickness, death and survival shown in this book. We meet new characters, but they never stay. It's always about the three protagonists. And their individual paths in life. I adored this book and all three characters, though Eily was my favourite. She had the big sister vibe that I loved. Of course they are all kids in this.
You might not expect a HEA. The way everything works out is happy. It showed the courage the kids had. They made the long journey and survived. It wasn't a thing that you could say for sure in the beginning. It's written in a time that Ireland was full of death. It's one of those times you learn about in Ireland and this book, though not educational, is good to read during that part of your education.
Under the Hawthorn Tree is not just for kids. It's not just for Irish people. This book is for anyone who would like a story that has that hint of adventure and tragedy to it. The book is a lovely read and I believe it's why they are so popular in Ireland. Ms. McKenna did a wonderful job delivering a beautiful story.Highly recommended read!