The Glorious Guinness Girls – Blog Tour

The Glorious Guinness Girls are the toast of London and Dublin society. Darlings of the press, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh lead charmed existences that are the envy of many.

But Fliss knows better. Sent to live with them as a child, she grows up as part of the family and only she knows of the complex lives beneath the glamorous surface.

Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens which sends shockwaves through the entire household. 


In the aftermath, as the Guinness sisters move on, Fliss is forced to examine her place in their world and decide if where she finds herself is where she truly belongs.


Set amid the turmoil of the Irish Civil War and the brittle glamour of 1920s London, The Glorious Guinness Girls is inspired by one of the most fascinating family dynasties in the world – an unforgettable novel of reckless youth, family loyalty and destiny.

The Glorious Guinness Girls

If you love a historical tale that brings a fascinating period most vividly to life, you will love this book that brings the era of the Bright Young Things alive and allows you to walk in their shoes as you experience the highs and lows of their fascinating and privileged lives

The Glorious Guinness Girls is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read this year – and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be saying exactly the same in December when it comes to look back across all my reads of 2021. It plunges us into the experiences of these sisters as they live their charmed lives at the centre of society, ably navigating the social circles of both London and Dublin. One summer evening changes everything and the gilded existence of the sisters can be seen in quite a different light…

Hourican’s original and fascinating read is told from the fictional point of view of Fliss Burke, who is sent to be a companion the Guinness family in their Dublin house Glenmaroon, working with the three Guinness daughters Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh.  This fantastically realised novel is based on a true story,which makes it all the more compelling and I was glad to have a full weekend off to get totally caught up in this memorable and immersive historical tale.

The glorious Guinness girls

If you have been folowing me for a while, you’ll know that I love a well-written historical tale where I find out something new about a period that I can really immerse myself in – and even though I thought I knew a fair bit about this period, there was a lot here that was new to me and that of course I went down a rabbit hole looking up whilst I was reading this tale. The tfact that we hear things from the perspective of ‘outsider’ Fliss,  also contributed to my enjoyment hugely as I enjoyed her very different insights to the characters she observes as we are led through this view through the keyhole of their fabulously gilded existence

As readers we feel intrigued alongside Fliss as we are able to observe a totally unfamiliiar world from her perspective. Her resourceful personality and ability to pour oil on troubled waters makes her absolutely perfect for this role. It was fascinating to hear about her arrival as a child, from her own turbulent experiences to take her place at the heart of one of the most privileged families in the country. Her youth and ability to seize the moment soon make her an invaluable part of the family until trouble rears its head and she parts her way with the family, not seeing them again until later life – where the scales have fallen from her eyes somewhat and the dynamic has changed irrevocably…

Fliss’s position was unique and I loved seeing the family from this original and clever perspective – I feel like it was her strength of character that really allowed me to connect with her. It was a strength of the text that through her we get to see the contrasat between the golden life of the Guinness girls’ lives and how the other half lived, in the midst of their lives of luxury. There have been many contrasts with Downton Abbey and there is that same sense of ‘upstairs downstairs’ drama – where the juxtaposition between the haves and have nots makes the inequalities and social stratification come vividly alive as you read

I loved the way that we are able to hear about the way that women’s lives were so set in stone and how inflexible society was, no matter what your status or wealth at this time. I got more and more fascinated by this era as the novel progressed. The social history is blended absolutely perfectly with the sisters’ lives so that you are immersed in their stories as you turn the pages and I was absolutely caught up in Aileen, Oonagh and Maureen’s lives as they came alive for me off the page

Will Cross, Author on Twitter: "Three Sisters : Daughters of Arthur & Marie  Guinness L : Maureen (1907-1998) (Lady Dufferin) & Aileen ( 1904-1999)  (Hon. Mrs Plunket) R : Oonagh ( 1910-1995) (

Emily Hourican does an absolutely amazing job of allowing us an insight into the rareified world of the Bright Young Things as we read the tale of these sistersthe social stratification, fragile alleigances, and the stark consequences for anyone who stepped over the strictly delineated boundaries that were set in stone is painted for us in vivid technicolour. Through this novel we are able to imagine the small details of their lives, their friendships, hopes and disappointmets as they live through a period of great politcal upheaval amd change I was totally caught up in this story and have thought about it non stop over the last few weeks. I think it would make for an incredible film, you can imagine yourself walking through the hallway at Glenmarron as you read and I’d love to see it on the big screen in glorious technicolour one day .

I absolutely loved The Glorious Guinness Girls. It is a wonderfully realised historical read that will entwine you in the lives of its character until the final page. We get so caught up in the lives of these characters that it was almost impossible to step away from reading about them once the book had finished. I have gone down the rabbit hole of exploring the lives of the real Guinness girls since finishing the book and am looking for another read set in the same area as I feel absolutely fascinated by this period of change for women as society began to alter forever for those born into this gilded lifestlye

The Glorious Guinness Girls: A story of the scandals and secrets of the  famous society girls: Amazon.co.uk: Hourican, Emily: 9781472274595: Books

Buy yourself a copy here and follow the blog tour to see what these other bloggers thought of the book. Thank you so much to Antonia Whitton from Headline books for the invitation and I’m delighted to be giving five stars for this incredible historical read.

Oonagh Guinness - Wikipedia

‘The Glorious Guinness Girls has already been compared, and rightly so, to Downton Abbey. The two share a delicious comfort-blanket quality, only in the book’s case, you do not need to wait until Sunday evenings before availing of its escapist properties. The story combines the intimacy of a family drama, set against the most opulent of backdrops, with sweeping historical themes. The tragic fragility of so many of the Guinness Girls’ set – that ability to burn bright, but burn fast, is perfectly captured here’ Irish Independent

‘A must for all Downton Abbey fans, The Glorious Guinness Girls is a gorgeous book, a captivating tale about a young girl caught up in the lifestyle of a family that continues to fascinate – the Guinness Family. A joy to read’ Swirl and Thread

Set amid the turmoil of the Irish Civil War and the brittle glamour of 1920s London, The Glorious Guinness Girls is inspired by one of the most fascinating family dynasties in the world – an unforgettable novel of reckless youth, family loyalty and destiny.

Writer On The Shelf

Emily Hourican is a journalist and author. She has written features for the Sunday Independent for fifteen years, as well as Image magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Woman and Home. She was also editor of The Dubliner Magazine.


Emily’s first book, a memoir titled How To (Really) Be A Mother was published in 2013. She is also the author of novels The PrivilegedWhite VillaThe Outsider and The Blamed. Her first novel about the Guinness sisters The Glorious Guinness Girls was published in 2020.
She lives in Dublin with her family.

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