Anne Dolan, a lecturer in Irish history at Trinity College, Dublin, wrote an excellent review of Petticoat Rebellion which was published in the Irish Times newspaper on Wednesday 5th August.
The review says that “Petticoat Rebellion portrays an Anna Parnell who understood the need for revolution on the land in a way that her brother never could; it depicts a progressive advocate of women’s social and political rights, and Groves’s portrayal might be right. Anna Parnell’s politics were the politics of building shelters for the evicted, the politics of the activist who could brook no compromise not even from her own brother, whom she considered a traitor for signing the Kilmainham Treaty.”
Anne’s only criticism of the book is that “it chooses not to question her [Anna’s] sometimes extreme methods, her obsessive need to revise the published version of events, or why she died the unknown Cerisa Palmer”. I would argue that Anna was only considered extreme by those who criticised her for being so active in her defence of the rural poor, and of her mission to ensure that the events of the day were accurately recorded.
In closing, however, Anne remarks that the book was written as a celebration of Anna’s life and work, and is “a gentle reminder that perhaps we need to consider “Madam Moonlight” a little more”. This, ultimately, was my primary motivation for writing the book, and I am delighted with Anne’s assessment.
You can read the full review in the Irish Times online