Born in Belfast in 1962, KEITH REILLY left Ireland to travel the world at 18, exploring Europe, India and South East Asia and meeting his Dutch wife, Maryke, en route. Today they live in Dorset and have two grown up children.
Keith focused on his career and became managing director of an international electronics firm. However, his creative side could not be ignored and over the years he has published a number of artworks of Belfast and other cities. Despite being widely travelled, when he turned to writing for creative expression, it was the society of his youth that provided the greatest interest, providing the backdrop to his debut novel, Ahoy for Joy.
Keith’s writing details the subtle human interactions that often define our lives and presents these with passion and irony, expressed through sympathetic characters. His descriptive powers seamlessly blend the story with colour and imagination, emotion and intrigue, providing a rewarding journey of discovery for the reader.
The cover illustration for Ahoy for Joy is from an oil painting entitled “Belfast Shipyard from Pearls house,” by Keith Reilly.
Ahoy For Joy (Romance/Historical Romance/Chick Lit)
The year is 1978. Michael Coglan is a nervous Belfast teenager whose personality has all but disappeared in the mists of a childhood trauma from which there seems no recovery. When he starts a pen pal relationship with a Dutch teenager he meets on holiday, we get to see and I hope understand what life really was like back then.
We get to experience the casual prejudices expressed in the language of the characters of the day. We get to see the brutal decline of social and economic fortunes that so many people experienced and the difficult and compromising decisions they faced. We get to see how the culture of the day manifested itself through a violent sectarian attack of children upon children. We get to see inside the head of a young terrorist in the midst of his deed.
That may have been the life the main character was living, but this was not the world he presented to Anna, his Dutch pen pal. Through the controlled medium of the written word, he describes the warmth and jocular personalities of the Irish people. He describes the wonders of the countryside with a delightful vigour and the city with a charming vibrancy that delights his muse and engages her mind.
While the city of Belfast provides the scene, the narrative is a unique and touching love story, blended with a mild intrigue. It examines how the briefest of meetings can prompt the strongest of emotions, affecting not just the couple themselves, but the wider community for many years to come.
Some will live within the public glare where the mundane fascinates and death prompts a public grief. For most, where fruitful lives yield bonds of friendship, family and love, a wide collection of memories endure, providing teary comfort to those who remain. But for a few of God’s children their lives go by and are soon over, having yielded hardly a ripple on the waters of life. When they pass, who will say they have a memory to fade? Perhaps it seems that nothing remains. Yet once in a while, as people change and events forge their own weary way through time, that existence that passed largely unnoticed in life can still have a profound effect on others, long after their death.
Visit HERE to view the book launch for Ahoy For Joy