Book of the Week
Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin
Derry, 2016. Catholic Aidan and Protestant Iona, now eighteen, were both born on the day of the Northern Ireland peace deal. At a post-exam party, Aidan wanders alone across the Peace Bridge and becomes the victim of a brutal sectarian attack, witnessed by Iona. When the two meet, the differences between them seem insurmountable, but despite their differences their friendship grows. But it seems like everything is keeping them apart, when all they want is to be together.
This book highlights the impact of the Troubles young people in modern-day Northern Ireland. The dual-narrative story allows insight into Aidan and Iona’s hearts and souls, their families and their communities. Their empathetic and thought-provoking love story is told with compassion, integrity and rich characterisation which encourages conflict resolution, respect and understanding. It is full of warmth and depth, and written with compelling language throughout. The sense of place is all-embracing, and the lyricism in the evocative descriptions of the landscape of Ireland gives a real sense of love from the author. The use of Irish dialect adds a sense of authenticity to a multi-layered read.