*** DEBUG END ***

Book Club Podcast: Tish Delaney on her novel Before My Actual Heart Breaks

29 February 2024

Tish Delaney

Tish Delaney

0:00 / 0:00

Before My Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney is the choice for this month’s Church Times Book Club. On the podcast this week, Tish Delaney talks to Sarah Meyrick, who has written this month’s Book Club essay about the book.

Before My Actual Heart Breaks is published by Cornerstone at £9.99 (Church Times Bookshop £8.99); 978-1-78609-098-0.

About the book

Against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Mary Rattigan’s dreams of emigrating to America are shattered when she finds herself pregnant at the age of 16. Mary’s strict Roman Catholic parents force her to marry a local farmer to minimise the shame that she has inflicted on the family. With flashbacks to her childhood, the story follows Mary’s marriage, one blighted by miscommunication, which is not helped by her lack of self-worth and past childhood trauma. Throughout the novel, the author’s prose captures the beauty of the sweeping countryside and farmland of Northern Ireland, and the use of the local vernacular adds authenticity to the book’s rural setting and to the raw emotions expressed.

Tish Delaney was born in Northern Ireland and grew up during the Troubles. Leaving County Tyrone to study at Manchester University, she remained in England afterwards to work as a reporter and sub-editor on various magazines and national newspapers in London. Leaving The Financial Times in 2014, she moved to the Channel Islands to start a career in writing. Her debut novel, Before My Actual Heart Breaks, won the Authors’ Club’s Best First Novel Award. In June 2022, her second book, The Saint of Lost Things, was published. The author still lives on Alderney, which she often describes as mini-Donegal.

Sarah Meyrick is a novelist. Her latest novel is Joy and Felicity (Sacristy Press, 2021). 

The Church Times Book Club is run in association with the Festival of Faith and Literature

Sign up to receive the free Book Club email once a month. Featuring discussion questions, podcasts and discounts on each book: churchtimes.co.uk/newsletter-signup

Discuss this month’s book at facebook.com/groups/churchtimesbookclub

Click the play button above to listen to this podcast. You can also listen to the Church Times Podcast on the Church Times app for iPhone and iPadSoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and most other podcast platforms. Music for the podcast is by Twisterium. 

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)