Near the old port of Sligo in Ireland is a large house called Woodbrook; it is so well known that the area around it also takes its name from the house. A family called the Kirkwood have owned the house since the seventeenth century. At the age of eighteen David Thomson was appointed as a tutor to Phoebe Kirkwood in 1932. He ended up staying 10 years. In this memoir, he describes how he came to love the house and the region, and how he slowly fell for his pupil. As well as the story of the family and house, it is about Ireland in between the wars when there was a much slower pace of life.
There were sections of this book that I really liked, in particular his travel around on a bike and personal interaction with the locals and other characters. Whilst I realise that it is important to set the context, I felt that there was too much history in the book for a memoir and it just felt that I was wading through it. Even though the time he was there this was after the civil war and into the Second World War, it was a tough life there and his recollection is lyrical but quite melancholy. Overall was ok to read, just didn’t live up to the promise of ‘masterpiece’ for me.