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In wartime Ireland, an Englishman and a German each needs the other to betray his country. And if the nationalist firebrands get their way, they may have to fight to the death.

But hang on!—Just a few months ago, Flight Lieutenant Oliver Carmichael and Baron Julius von Stulpnagel were living together in Berlin, trying to sell forged paintings. 

So what are they doing in rundown Ballingore, and how will ex-convent-girl Mary Collins and her devoted red-headed sidekick Niamh Slattery play into their hands?

In this hilarious Irish farce, K.J. Kelly brilliantly recreates the slapstick flavour of an Ealing Studios comedy. Call it Thelma and Louise meets County Cork.


Bob Madison, Cash and Carrey, The Lucifer Stone and Spiked!

Take one spirited colleen, mix with an Allied and a Nazi soldier both in love with her, add a dash of the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ and shake with gentle nostalgia and whimsy. These are the ingredients of the charming comedy A Girl’s Own War, one of the sweetest books I’ve read this year. Recommended!


David Baclaski, author

Wodehouse meets Waugh meets Carry On in this hilarious debut novel by K.J. Kelly. Among the laughs and capers, there is sweetness and romance. A most unusual Second World War novel taking place in a most unusual wartime setting, A Girl's Own War is the kind of read we get only once in a decade.

Mara Timon, City of Spies

I loved it. A Girl’s Own War is an irreverent, hilarious and thoroughly enjoyable romp through history. Mary and Niamh are like a surreal Thelma and Louise, only it’s during WW2 and they’re trying to escape the nuns as much as the Enemy, who might not be an enemy after all, which makes it all the more intriguing. Praise to K.J. Kelly, a fresh, utterly individual voice on the historical thriller scene—and definitely one to watch!

Barry Walsh, author of The Pimlico Kid

An unforgettable cast of characters is assembled in an imaginary West Cork port in neutral Ireland during WWII. Together they provide an hilarious farce in which English, German and some Irish characters prove shame­lessly unpatriotic. All are possessed of delusional ambitions that createconflicts that keep the story running vigorously and chaotically to the end. 


But while rich in stereotypical characters, the prime joy concerns the beautiful Mary Collins and her devoted, more intelligent, friend Niamh Slattery—a female twosome that parallels the Shakespearean Lear and his Fool or Don Quixote and Sancho Panza—but funnier. A mid-century Thelma & Louise for the West of Ireland?

Kelly has an original voice and considerable erudition, which dances lightly and to good effect throughout the story, with humorous and apposite references. Lyrical passages also abound and certain incidents remind one of George Bernard Shaw’s lines, in John Bull’s Other Island, about the English being so foolish in their cleverness and the Irish so clever in their foolishness.

A smile on every page and often a laugh.



K.J. Kelly was born in England and has worked in advertising in London, Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles. Each location has funded a wealth of short stories but it was the childhood tales of the writer’s father in West Cork, Ireland, that inspired the mere observer to become a historical novelist.  K.J. currently resides and works in West London and continues to travel widely.

K.J. Kelly

A Girl's Own War


PUBLISHER EnvelopeBooks

FORMAT Paperback/Softback 

EXTENT 246 pages
SIZE 203mm x 127mm (8” x 5”) 

ISBN 9781915023148

GENRES Fiction/Humour, Ireland, Second World War

RRP £12.95
PUBLICATION DATE 7 September 2023 


PR/PUBLICITY Alan Jepson 07535 757740

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