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Summary

Hot pants to Mohican haircuts, glam rock to punk, Monty Python to Kojak, the three-day week to Thatcher....

A Scottish new town in the 1970s is the playground for teenage sweethearts Lorna and Robert and their unforgettable band of friends – and foes.

Among the concrete warrens, they discover loyalty and betrayal, booze and bullies, triumph and tragedy.

And, like all youngsters growing up anytime, anywhere, they spend an awful lot of time inventing sex.

But for Lorna and Robert, their lives are changed – perhaps forever – when they are torn apart by a deathbed promise and bitter sectarian divide.

Fast forward 25 years to Blair’s Britain at the start of the new millennium when they suddenly come back into each other’s lives in a very different world of fast-changing technology, international terrorism, and the advent of social media. 

With a trail of broken marriages, personal damage, and self-doubt in their wake – not to mention that dying vow still haunting them – they face up to the biggest question of their lives.

What if you got a second chance to put right your biggest regret?

©2020 Mike Kernan (P)2020 Mike Kernan

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Reader chances on Autobiography

I downloaded this book as a result of a passing mention on a Facebook Group dedicated to growing up in Cumbernauld, fictionalised as Cumbride in this story.
Mike Kernan has captured the essence of an era that corresponds to my own coming of age in the New Town.
As the story unfolded it was difficult to ignore the eerily coincidental incidents and a narrative track that matched my own experiences.
Powerful, evocative and entrancing

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Pure dead brilliant!

Poor dead brilliant! Loved this, what a great story it took me back in time to my youth in Scotland. The Fenian is based on the story of kids growing up together, finding love, and how over time they change, their lives differing enormously as all but a few grow apart.

All the characters are so well drawn that you feel as if you know them all personally. There are sad scenes, fabulous laugh out loud moments, self reflections and memories that make this a favourite, delightful read that I love.

At the beginning Lorna makes a promise to her dying cancer ridden mum Angela on her deathbed that she will not marry or be with a catholic. This has far reaching terrible consequences, such a horrendous promise that knaws at her life, impacting upon her present teenage love and continues to have a detrimental effect upon her adult relationships thereafter.

Lorna was so young at the time of the promise, she carries this horrendous emotional pain at the loss of her mother and the scar of the promise blights her mother's memory throughout her life.

I loved big Paddy and how his mum was Lorna's mum's best pal showing the total ridiculousness of the underlying bigotry that exists as the premise of this story.

It was interesting to see how the bigotry was attributed to the adults in the story with the youngsters mixing freely with each other with no cares what school or religion their pals belonged to. The setting is Kumbride, a new town in Scotland where perhaps: 'old barriers' could be 'torn down. '

All the characters have such different and engaging personalities with Robert, (Lorna's then boyfriend, ) the storyteller, 'inventing our history' who became a journalist on telly.

Cami is 'the punch bag' but the girls in the gang of friends stopped him being beaten up by new boys. When he was 'pinned to the wall,' by a sadistic teacher this sadly brought back memories of my hubby's tale of the viciousness of a particular teacher when he was a kid. I loved the imaginativeness of how the kids dealt with the bullying teacher!

And oh the wedding scene when total mayhem erupts is crazy unforgettable!

And I Loved wee Mary, Lorna's best friend.

There were many music references which also brought back memories - a nice touch.

With advancing middle age the changes in the pals were cleverly portrayed via snippets from friends reunited, conversations and Lornas emails at the time of the devastating twin towers collapsing.

The ending is great bringing a sense of hope and a coming together.

My recommendation. It's a long tale, in two parts, which I listened to on audiobook but I loved every minute. I would highly recommend, so relatable to me personally as our marriage is a mix of religious and cultural background and it's great how this story highlights that whatever religion we belong to we are all the same.

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A BRILLIANT saga of growing up in Glasgow!

I absolutely LOVED this audio book. I think that dual time zones are an excellent way of telling a story and sometimes in audio books that can get lost, not in this one. I thought that songs that were named at the beginning of each chapter were inspired, as it took you there straight away and made you remember what you were doing then.

The setting was described just as you imagined it would be in Glasgow.
I cringed at some of the story as it unfolded, when things were not at all 'PC' in comparison with now.
I laughed at the exploits of the teenage crew and what they got up to! I had a lump in my throat as the author told us the story of life and how hard it was. Yes it was tough, but what a gang to belong to.
Loved it.
The narration was so incredibly easy to listen to too.
Just wish it could have continued as I was so invested.

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An absolute delight!

This book could only have been better if there was more of it. I loved the story and the characters. I felt like I was right there with them. My only complaint is that it’s finished. I want to keep going on and visiting Cumbride. I was to tell Karen to get a grip, I want to get my hair done by Jo and visit Europe with the girls. I’m sad I can’t, but I’m so pleased to have spent those 15 hours with a spectacular cast. Thank you, Mike Kernan, for putting to paper a world I could climb inside of.

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I'm so sad it's finished!

I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. I got totally lost in the story of my friends in Cumbride! Beautifully written. Made me laugh and cry and smile and cringe. This is a must listen or read, haven't enjoyed a book so much for years. Feel truly sad that it's over.