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My mother's unfinished novel about an Irish bachelor's journey to the altar

"Ireland had changed. There was affluence. Attitudes had become more relaxed. Social barriers had crumbled a little. Young people had more confidence. They travelled more freely. All this change was good, but it had come too late for the elderly bachelors. These were lonely men whose lives had been dominated in their youth by mothers, now gone, who themselves had been moulded by rigid conventions. Some of these lonely men were blighted by narrow religious attitudes, still others by the dowry system. Widowers of any age could remarry if they wanted to, and most young people married soon. The elderly bachelor, however, was a figure of fun if he still had a dream. One of them had a dream. He was sure that any day now, he would turn that dream into reality. What he could not have foreseen was what a long and arduous journey it would be before he reached the altar, that is, if he ever reached it."

This is the introduction to the unfinished novel 'Michael' written by my mother Nora O'Rourke during the 1990s. I found the manuscript, some of which I had transcribed and saved on disk for her, whilst clearing out her flat following her death on 30 June 2004 at the age of 86.

If you'd like to read further extracts from my mother's novel, please contact.

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