Adult Fiction, Book reviews and recommendations

The Glorious Guinness Girls

Author: Emily Hourican

Genre: Adult Fiction

Review by: Emma, Leixlip Library



Three sisters, one shared destiny.

From London to Ireland during the 1920s, here is a glorious, gripping, and richly textured story that takes us to the heart of the remarkable real-life story of the Guinness Girls — for fans of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia.

Aileen. Maureen. Oonagh. The private lives of the Glorious Guinness Girls fascinated a nation. But privilege always has its price… Granddaughters of the first Earl of Iveagh, the three daughters of Ernest Guinness are glamorous society girls, the toast of Dublin and London. Darlings of the press, with not a care in the world. But what beautiful ruins lie behind the glass of their privileged worlds?

Inspired by fascinating real events and a remarkable true story, from the turmoil of Ireland’s War of Independence to the brittle glamour of 1920s London, this dramatic, richly textured reading group novel takes us into the heart of a beautiful but often painful hidden world.


As a massive fan of Downton Abbey I was immediately drawn in not only by the beautiful cover of this book but the promise of a story along the lines of something straight out of Downton. Bearing in mind some of the characters are fictional and at times it can be difficult to tell fact from fiction in this book, ultimately The Glorious Guinness Girls was an absolute delight of a book. One word of warning for prospective readers – some find the pacing of the book rather slow. I personally did not mind, but this was a complaint some of my friends had about the book.

The Guinness Girls, are crafted as the darlings of society in this book and while these women are not fictional – some of the characters we meet are, for example our narrator Fliss. The girls as we perceive them in the book and their characteristics are rather the authors interpretation of the real Guinness ladies and as such they may not have been represented as they actually were in real life.

Our main character, Fliss, is a young girl is taken into the Guinness’ home and the story is told through her perspective. She is at first a schoolmate for the girls, and then a friend, or almost sister and she narrates the girl’s lives from 1918 to 1929.

I won’t lie Fliss’ character fell a little flat for me and I found myself actually quite disliking her firstly I found her to be rather ungrateful for a lot of the opportunities she was offered and I felt as a character, she didn’t seem to have any defining characteristics until she became accomplished as a working woman. Which did improve her as character a little for me later on. Ultimately I found Fliss, was merely used as an unrequired narrator on the boundaries of high society – I think I would have preferred the story much more if it had been narrated by one of the sisters themselves. This is perhaps the reason I only gave this book three stars out of five. I did really enjoy the book and found it to be quite an easy read which is exactly what I wanted now the evenings are getting colder and darker. It is definitely one of those books that as long as you take it at face value for what it is you will thoroughly enjoy it.

I did find after finishing the book I was curious to find out more about the Guinness family, particularly as I am located in the Leixlip Library branch. They seem to be an absolutely fascinating family and I find myself particularly encourage to learn more about them now.

Feel free to request online from your local library here .


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