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The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange
Contemporary fiction

The Connellys of County Down

Repeat author

Tracey Lange is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include We Are the Brennans.

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Tracey Lange
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Quick take

In this moving tale about forgiveness, loyalty, and love’s limits, one family tries to keep it together, together.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama


When Tara Connelly is released from prison after serving eighteen months on a drug charge, she knows rebuilding her life at thirty years old won’t be easy. With no money and no prospects, she returns home to live with her siblings, who are both busy with their own problems. Her brother, a single dad, struggles with the ongoing effects of a brain injury he sustained years ago, and her sister’s fragile facade of calm and order is cracking under the burden of big secrets. Life becomes even more complicated when the cop who put her in prison keeps showing up unannounced, leaving Tara to wonder what he wants from her now.

While she works to build a new career and hold her family together, Tara finds a chance at love in a most unlikely place. But when the Connellys’ secrets start to unravel and threaten her future, they all must face their worst fears and come clean, or risk losing each other forever.

The Connellys of County Down is a moving novel about testing the bounds of love and loyalty. It explores the possibility of beginning our lives anew, and reveals the pitfalls of shielding each other from the bitter truth.

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Why I love it

I love books about messy family dynamics. The Connellys of County Down takes us back to the heart and soul of this genre: three siblings with their family baggage in tow under one roof, fighting to make their lives just that little bit better every day.

The book opens on Tara Connelly being released from prison. She didn’t expect any fanfare—okay, maybe at least a car ride home?—but she returns to a house already filled with other people’s problems. Her brother, who suffered a brain injury years before, is still struggling to hold down work as a single parent. Her sister is an anxiety ridden compulsive shopper and secretive about her job in a way that raises eyebrows. And the cop who arrested Tara can’t seem to leave her alone...

There’s a quote I highlighted the first time I read this book that I think perfectly encapsulates what makes it so special: “The most honest words didn’t have to be loud or dramatic to cut deep.” Tracey Lange writes with an incredible emotional honesty that makes her characters shine; she also beautifully depicts the day-to-day interactions between loved ones that are imbued with meaning through years of trust and anguish. The Connellys of County Down is so full of heart, and its wonderful message about compassion and forgiveness will stay with me for a long time.

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