Set in a small Irish town during the run up to Christmas in 1985, everybody gathers to light the tree and sing carols. But the convent on the edge of town, has always been a source of rumours. It has a training school and laundry attached to it but no one is quite sure who’s living there with The Good Shepherd nuns.
Bill Furlong, the local coal and timber merchant counts his blessings. Married to Eileen and with five daughters doing well at school, he’s happy with his lot and has ‘a deep, private joy that these children were his own.‘ He knows that it could have been very different. His own mother was 16 when she had him and could easily have ended up in the laundry had the wealthy widow she worked for not taken them in. When he delivers some coal to the convent he comes face to face with life inside and with one child in particular.
Bill was given a copy of A Christmas Carol as a boy and this year he’s asked for David Copperfield and I thought there was a touch of Dickensian sentimentality running through this tale. I found Bill a really believable character, he doesn’t have much but he has enough, he sees the value in the small things around him but he also sees the child in the convent. Can he make a difference and confront the complicit silence of the town or will he too turn away and pretend not to have seen?