In this final volume of the Brigid O’Meara trilogy, the heroine, a beautiful Irish music hall dancer/singer, who was drawn into gun smuggling during the 1895 Jameson Raid against Kruger’s Boer Republic, and was incarcerated in a British concentration camp when she sided with the Boers during the Anglo Boer War, marries Willie Gray, the British Uitlander and revolutionary who she fell in love with during the turbulent period building up to the war.
Now, in the aftermath of the war, Brigid undergoes a cathartic journey where she is forced to confront the demons of the past that she kept bottled up inside her.
The dark world she is projected into is a harsh one, far removed from the comfortable life she has created with Willie and her son Ritchie, but it is also a world that gives insights into the hypocritical social morals and sanctimonious self-righteousness of the new ruling British colonials. It is a world which gives Brigid the freedom to take revenge on past enemies, but also one in which she has to face retribution for actions that have sunk her into a deep abyss from which there seems no escape.
Dark Night of the soul is so very different to the first two books of the O’Meara trilogy that the reader has to completely realign a previous bonding with the romantic heroine and view her as a protagonist beyond the boundaries of sympathy within the story line. Yet one does not completely reject her and there persists a reaching out with a strong desire that evil will be overcome and right relationships restored. Neville Herrington is a master of dialogue in his narrations, as his previous play writing confirms, and his court scenes are superbly presented with all the cold finality of clinical justice. His knowledge of historic events is cleverly woven into the plot and gives justification for unfolding dramatic situations. This book is spell-binding, I could not put it down until the last page was turned and the final endeavor accomplished. Although happy endings are not prerequisite we can at least feel some satisfaction that in the end not all was lost. Coming to terms with exorcism and the spiritual world could prove a little alien to some but as the author suggests there may have to be ‘a willing suspension of belief’.