The Whipping Club

Deborah Henry


The story is a microcosm of the broad suffering wrought by the intimate liaison between the Catholic Church and the Irish State, particularly on young women and their offspring. Throughout, it is a reflection on the emotional impact of class, social and religious intolerance on human lives, both in the not-so-distant past and in the present. Much like the whole new Ireland of today, however, the Ellises are determined to lay to rest their bitterness, which opens the door for reconciliation.

directed by
Adam Cushman

Jordan Raskin

Eric Roberts and Luc Austin

Produced by
Film 14

Luciano Blotta

Music by
Jose Villalobos, Arnold Wohler


The Whipping Club takes us to mid-20th-century Ireland, where a good Catholic girl decides to give up her half-Jewish child for adoption. Secrecy, lifelong guilt, and remorse aren’t even half of what she and the child will suffer in Deborah Henry’s novel.

O – Oprah MagazineJuly Summer Reading Issue 2012

Henry weaves multilayered themes of prejudice, corruption and redemption with an authentic voice and swift, seamless dialogue. Her prose is engaging, and light poetic touches add immediacy. Echoing the painful lessons of the Jewish Holocaust, Henry’s tale reveals what happens when good people remain silent. A powerful saga of love and survival.

Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

The prose of The Whipping Club is gripping, and almost poetic in its emotional depth, while the research is concise and accurate, and the story haunting…The Whipping Club holds the promise of a long and meaningful career for Deborah Henry as a serious writer. Bravo!

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Set in 1960′s Ireland, Henry’s riveting debut novel explores the far-reaching effects of a single decision.

Publishers Weekly

Deborah Henry is a natural storyteller and she is far more. Her novel The Whipping Club is a compelling read, but it also seriously explores the terrible ways the world –as a society, as individuals — often fails its children. And most importantly, her book offers a searingly lovely vision of how wrongs can be made right. Deborah Henry is a splendid young novelist who deserves a wide audience.

Robert Olen ButlerPulitzer Prize-winning author
whipping club author

Deborah Henry

THE WHIPPING CLUB is Deborah Henry’s first novel. She lives in Fairfield, Connecticut with her husband and their three children. She is currently at work on her next book. For more visit: