Solihull Sixth Form teacher releases first novel

Therese Down with a copy of her book ‘Only With Blood’

Therese Down with a copy of her book ‘Only With Blood’

A teacher at The Sixth Form College, Solihull has published her first novel – a tale that explores the hardships, politics and daily challenges of life in rural Ireland in the early 1940s.

‘Only With Blood’ is the work of Therese Down, the curriculum leader for English at the college, which is based on Widney Manor Road.

The book’s main protagonist is Jack Flynn, described as “a strong and aggressive individual” who is slowly dying of tuberculosis on his farm in County Tipperary.

He decides to buy himself a young wife who can bear him sons to inherit his family’s land.

Following an arrangement with her father Jack marries Caitlin Spillane, who is less than half his age.

Attractive and intelligent, she resents the obedience that is forced upon her.

When Donal Kelly, a young IRA supporter arrives in the village, he and Caitlin are drawn together in their hatred of Flynn.

The story is set against the struggle for the heart of Ireland during the Second World War, when the IRA notoriously sought assistance from the Nazis.

The book has already received several praiseworthy reviews on the internet, including one on the Publishers Weekly website which said readers would benefit from having some existing knowledge of the history and politics of Ireland of the time but added: “Down spins a web of psychologically complex characters who hurt others and are hurt themselves.

“The strength of Down’s story is not its history but rather its characters and their sad, intertwined longings.”

Therese said the publication of the book, which is published by Lion Hudson, was the fulfilment of a long-held ambition and that she was thrilled to see it in print.

She said: “I am more delighted than I can say to have had a novel published – it’s the realisation of a lifelong dream.”

And, not one to stand still, Therese has also already penned a second novel called ‘The End of Law’, which will be available from January 2016, also published by Lion Hudson.

‘Only With Blood’ is available from Amazon (, as well as a variety of other outlets.