Booklist – June 1, 2017
To live on a leeside is to be sheltered from the wind, and Siobhan’s life is on both a literal and figurative leeside. Sheltered by overprotective Uncle Kee in a tiny Irish village, Siobhan shares with him a deep love and understanding of Irish poetry, and they care for each other. Siobhan is content in her small, sealed world until an American scholar of Irish poetry comes to visit and begins to show her possibilities of life beyond. She tentatively shows him some of her own poetry but concocts a lie about its origins. Then, too,
Uncle Kee holds secrets about her mother’s death, in an IRA bombing. When Siobhan’s father appears, a man she believed to have been killed in the same blast, she begins to see Uncle Kee in a new light. As events unfold, Siobhan slowly realizes that the safe comfort of the leeside may also have been a kind of prison that has kept her from a fuller experience of life. Lovers of Irish poetry will find this book a treat.
— Joan Curbow
“Quiet, lyrical and sprinkled with verses of the Irish poetry Siobhan loves, Girl on the Leeside is a slim, beautiful debut about one woman taking her place in the world.”
“A beautiful and poetic coming-of-age story.”