Lilies In December

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Lilies In December
New cover art for Lilies In December
Author Agustus Montrose
Cover artist Laurence O'Reilly
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Psychological realism
Publisher Chapman & Hall
Publication date
8 September 1856
Pages 627

Lilies In December is the sole novel and debut work of 19th century literature author and playwright Agustus Montrose. He was inspired by travels to Ireland during the Great Famine. It is widely recognized as one of the best psychological realism novels of the era. It has been praised for its character depth and plot. Published in 1856, it is considered Montrose's greatest work. It is especially popular today in Europe, specifically in Poland and Belgium. It has been deemed as one of the most influential works of the 19th century.[1] It was developed for stage in 1884 by Montrose.


The setting of Lilies In December is the recovering western Irish village of Glen Arnen after the Potato Famine of the 1840s and early 1850s. Two young women, both named Lily have lost much of their family to the potato famine. One, Lily O'Malley has lost her mother and two brothers and is forced to survive in the hands of her abusive, drunkard father James O'Malley. The other, Lily McIntyre lost both parents and lives with her kind aunt Jane McIntyre who works under James O'Malley at the only inn in the village. The two Lilies find comfort in each other's company and become best friends. Throughout the story they meet many sexual encounters with young men from the village. Midway through the book, one such encounter leads to the pregnancy of Lily O'Malley and murder of the future father. In his rage, James also murders Jane McIntyre which results in Lily McIntyre's resentment of the O'Malleys. In her retaliation against them, she burns down their inn and kills several innocent people in the process. This leads to the estrangement of the two Lilies even more so and Lily O'Malley even attempts to stab McIntyre. James O'Malley's crimes are found out and he is sent to the gallows. Now, both in complete misery and all alone, the two Lilies decide to forget the past and reunite as friends in December 1854. Right as they begin to become extremely close, Lily McIntyre dies of hypothermia and Lily O'Malley, with nothing left to live for, commits suicide.[2]