Writer publishes historical novel

Writer David Dunlop with former pupil David McDowell from Limavady who painted the portrait which features on the front cover of 'The Broken Fiddle'
Writer David Dunlop with former pupil David McDowell from Limavady who painted the portrait which features on the front cover of 'The Broken Fiddle'

Ballymoney-born author David Dunlop has recently launched his second novel.

‘The Broken Fiddle’ is a story of complicated love set during the period of partition in Ireland.

Sally Anne Sweeney who travels from her Donegal home to the Strabane Fair for the first time. It is 1922, a brutal year in Ireland as the country is carved in two. She is hired to a young farmer in west Tyrone, where the border divides parishes and communities; it runs between farms and through friendships. Not a good time for Matthew Henderson to be falling in love with someone from ‘the other side’, but how can it be helped when your new maid is so intriguingly lovely, so funny, so irrepressible... and particularly when she is sleeping a few feet away, upstairs in your attic?

The themes of division and difference in this country’s past had always fascinated Dunlop.

The former teacher of history said: “I have always wondered what it must have felt like to be living right on the border when it was first established. What did it do to communities, to friendships, to your previous way of looking at the world? So I came up with a tale in which two young people are hugely attracted to each other but are so very different in how they look at their country, their territory. They are even divided by language.

“Matthew speaks in an Ulster-Scots dialect, Sally Anne has Irish as her first language, so even basic communication as they work together on the farm can be problematic, not to mention differences in social status, in religion and in their political views.”

The novel promises to be an interesting read, particularly in view of the coming centenary of the setting up of Northern Ireland and especially against the backdrop of discussions about the ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ border in view of Brexit.

‘The Broken Fiddle’ can be purchased locally at Waterstones or from online at Amazon.

It is also available on Kindle and on iTunes, with the additional benefit of embedded musical tracks referred to in the text.