Kitty O' Shea: An Irish Affair (Jane Jordan)

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Kitty O'Shea (1846-1921) was at the centre of one of the most notorious scandals of the late Victorian Age - a scandal which brought the downfall of Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the movement for Home Rule for Ireland and crippling damage to the movement itself. In 1889, Parnell was named co-respondent in a divorce suit brought by one of his own MPs, Captain Willie O'Shea. Alleged to have conducted an ten-year affair with Mrs Katherine O'Shea, Parnell was also revealed to be the father of the three youngest O'Shea children. The divorce and the details it exposed was a great public scandal in Victorian England and Catholic Ireland. Yet Parnell refused to resign from his leadership of the Home Rule movement, which resulted in the split of his party. In this compelling new biography, Jane Jordan explores the central, still unanswered questions:Why did Parnell risk the political future of Ireland (and his own) in conducting an affair with a married woman? And was O'Shea a duped husband, as he maintained, or did he connive with his wife's adultery in order to further his own political career?