The Cantankerous Molly Darling Blog Tour: Review and Guest Post from Alvy Carragher

Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for Alvy Carragher’s debut novel the Cantankerous Molly Darling, with both a review and a post from the author about the house that inspired Molly’s. Onto the post!


This is the story of the eponymous Molly Darling, a girl who lives on a farm in rural Ireland and whose family has been pretty much shattered by her dad leaving them, which is made even worse by the fact that he only leaves a Powerpoint as his explanation. Now, a while later, her sister Polly is marrying someone neither Molly or her mum approves of, and Molly’s beloved chickens have vanished, and it is three threads that make up the majority of the plot. I really liked Molly and the various members of her family who are very complicated but still loving, her friend Tess is brilliant , Claire is great as an adversary and I had a very soft spot for Fiachra- in short, this book has an excellent ensemble cast as well as a thoroughly likable protagonist. The rural Irish setting is a lot of fun, the plot zips along at a great pace both in terms of the family drama side of things and the attempts to rescue Molly’s chickens and I think it struck a great balance between the more serious things that are worrying Molly and the madcap humour of other parts. Something else I loved about this was how much it reminded me of books like the Electra Brown books and also a bit of the Ally’s World series, which is quite individual to me of course, but I imagine it would provoke similar feelings based on a similar series you’ve read, such as Georgia Nicholson for example. This would definitely be a good choice if you’re looking for something to make you laugh every time you curl up with it, and also something where you’ll adore the characters! 4.5/5

Now, over to Alvy!

Despite the fact that I’ve been living in city apartments with fancy smoke alarms for quite some time now, it never crossed my mind to set a book anywhere other than rural Ireland. Not that it was a conscious decision between city and country, it’s just that the backdrop of my childhood inspires me most. It’s hard for me to understand the city in the same way. “Left by the broken gate with all the muck” is a much easier direction for me to follow than “left, right, a great grey bank, right, three blocks and an anemic church later, voila!”

I grew up in a glorified field. There was a cottage and sheds and something we referred to as an “orchard”. It was most likely just a couple of fruit trees surrounded by weeds. There were small windows of time when the fruit was edible, before the chickens or bees claimed the territory as their own and it was off limits for the rest of the summer. Everything was a bit patched together, we learnt to improvise. At times, the cottage was as creative as we were. I’m thinking specifically of the Great Christmas Eve Flood of 1999 -– Approximately one hour before our grandparents arrived.

Our family was too big for the house, and it always had the feeling that we were bursting out of it. There were taxidermy animals gifted to my father (with no explanation) that gawked at us while we tried to eat dinner, and books in every available corner. My parents tried to tame the place with plants and additional walls and trellises, but there was always a sort of snaggle toothed feel to the place, as if it was bursting to do a jig.

Everything is vivid from that time; the constant leaks, cramped bedrooms, yellow walls and clutter. When I visited friends or relatives they lived in familiar places. Soggy wallpaper was not an uncommon sight, mould was just something that grew on ceilings and leaks were a fact of plumbing. Everyone was always talking about the work they were doing on the house. I thought of homes as a constant work in progress, and that’s something I wanted to capture in the setting of this novel.

When I was writing The Cantankerous Molly Darling, I gave her a much bigger home with fewer occupants, but I still wanted to recreate that feeling. Of a house alive with damp and character, of a place that almost has a personality of its own. You know, the sort of kitchen that conspires against you at Christmas and reveals your secrets to the neighbours.

The little old cottage where Alvy’s mother lives in Tipperary

Alvy Carragher grew up in rural Ireland and considered herself a writer long before it was appropriate. Her first novel “The Cantankerous Molly Darling” is out with Chicken House Books. She is currently holed up in Vancouver where she is tinkering away at a second novel and learning to speak Canadian. You can find out more about her work at . Follow her on twitter @ALVYCARRAGHER

Are you planning to pick this up? Do you have any favourite books with settings like this that you’d recommend? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

16 thoughts on “The Cantankerous Molly Darling Blog Tour: Review and Guest Post from Alvy Carragher”

      1. There are lots of book references in it that I think you’ll enjoy! And even though it’s bang up to date with the inclusion of social media, if those elements weren’t there it feels like it could be set years ago!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Currently I’m toying with Twister- Juliette Forrest and The Ice Garden – Guy Jones which just comes under the voucher price. I may pop this on top and just top up the difference unless you think I won’t enjoy either of the other two.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I actually haven’t read either of those and please don’t let this sway you, but I removed the Ice Garden from my TBR a few months ago for a reason I can’t really say with out spoiling the ending, but I’d say it’s a fairly personal thing that I don’t want to read about. I really liked his 2nd book though. And I’m looking forward to finally getting to Twister!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I know the little girl has a condition regarding sunlight- if something regarding my list on TTT yesterday happens nod with an appropriate emoticon and it will be elbowed off the list.

        Liked by 1 person

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