Author: Elizabeth Hand
Publisher: Viking (An Imprint of Penguin)
Read Time: One Sitting
Rating (1-5): 5
Tag Words: Cousins, incest, true love, the theatre, singing, wasted talent, sex, family dysfunction, falling short, coming back together
Cousins Madeline and Rogan Tierney are the descendants of the late, great actress, who is Maddy’s namesake. They are also madly, passionately and truly in love... with each other.
Okay don’t get all grossed out on me. Cousins married each other for years and years and years. Some still do... I prefer to find someone a bit further outside of my family tree. Still, the fact that these two are very literally ‘kissing cousins’ should not deter you from reading Illyria.
Hand wrote this book based off of a thesis. Maddy and Rogan have always been better together, they came into the world on the same day and have never been apart, even though there has always been a giant block between them. The thesis: Separated, they can amount to nothing, together they can do anything, but their love supersedes any individual talent.
Brilliant, eh? I think so.
I use to be an actress, no, really, I was! I left because I didn’t want the life Maddy ended up with. I wanted love, I wanted to do something greater, something a little less selfish. I didn’t want to make it, look back and wish that someone had just told me to stop, because I wouldn’t be fulfilled by the end result. I am still SO happy with that decision, but reading this made me nostalgic and I loved the bits of Twelfth Night Hand included so I could read aloud some of the best work in history!
This is a short book and I recommend any older reader of YA to have a crack at it.
Notes on the Names:
Okay, so here is where things fall flat. Hand describes this huge family spawned by this glamorous actress and she never gives us all of their names! I get that you don’t want to sit there and list out every family member, I would have considered it overkill as well, but I at least wanted to know the names of the six sisters and six brothers!
I did gather sisters Madeline and Brigid and brothers Michael, Thomas, John and... Rogan? I love Rogan and Brigid and Madeline, to me the classic, basic choices of Michael, Thomas and John were the ones that stuck out. This family is Irish, their name: Tierney. And as an Irish girl writing a story about Irish warriors I know all there is about awesome Irish names. I am re-naming these sibling-sets!
Thoughts on the Cover:
It’s mystifying. I love that the cape is included and that the setting almost looks like a stage, but the models... gah. All wrong, all wrong, all wrong, all wrong!
Parental Book Review *spoilers*
Rogan is beat up by his brothers so he won’t become “spoiled.”
Rogan becomes a drug addict and later recovers.