This was an interesting read into the Irish immigrants who came to American after the potato famine and how terribly they were treated. I need to buy the first book, and read that one now! The novel followed two maids who had come to America to work to send money back to help their families survive in Ireland, meanwhile trying to save to eventually bring them over as well.
Kathleen and Margaret have both found employment in the homes of middle class families. They serve as maids, and are expected to cook and clean as well as to handle anything else that is asked of them, meanwhile not being seen or heard. Kathleen has a struggle in the household she lives in, in that she is treated differently than how some of her friends are treated. She is often tested to her limits, and also terrified of the one son but she has more than she could have ever imaged when she was in Ireland.
Margaret, who goes by Meg is loving her life in America. She has a wonderful family that seems to care for her, she has managed to bring her sister over and soon hopefully she can bring her husband over as well. Although, having heard some of that Kathleen endures at her household, Meg feels a bit guilty in that she brought her here and helped her get employment.
As more and more immigrants come, and elections are nearing- there is much talk of different parties forming as well as laws and acts potentially being passed that could force all of these immigrants back to where they came from. There is also murmurs about the slaves from the south, and what would happen if they were ever free’d.
This was a very well written novel, and gave very good insight into how these poor girls were treated. Some were made to feel like family and given everything they could have ever dreamed of, and others were treated as if they were the lowest of the low and often were in fear of being sent back to where they came from. I loved the storyline of these two sisters, as well as the other immigrant characters in the story. I am very interested in reading the first novel.
Thank you to HFVBT for the invite, and to the author for the free book. I am curious to see if there would be another one – possibly Amy’s story- or what other historical fiction the author may write.
by Eileen O’Finlan
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
BWL Publishing, Inc.
Paperback & eBook; 433 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1851 Irish Famine survivor, Meg O’Connor, buys passage to America for her younger sister, Kathleen, and arranges employment for her as a maid. Kathleen’s feisty spirit soon puts her at odds with her employers, the bigoted and predatory Pratts. Driven from their home, Kathleen ends up on a wild adventure taking her to places she could never have imagined.
As a domestic servant in the Worcester, Massachusetts home of the kindly Claprood family, Meg enjoys a life beyond her wildest imaginings. Yet she must keep her marriage to Rory Quinn a secret. Rory, still in Ireland, eagerly awaits the day he will join her. But as the only jobs open to Irish men pay poorly, Rory’s imminent arrival threatens to plunge her back into dire poverty.
On the eve of the Civil War, while America is being rent asunder by the fight over slavery, Irish Catholics wage their own war with the growing anti-immigrant Know Nothing party. Through grave doubts, dangers, and turmoil, Meg and Kathleen must rely on their faith and the resilient bonds of sisterhood to survive and claim their destinies in a new and often hostile land.
About the Author
Eileen O’Finlan lives in central Massachusetts with a calico Maine Coon cat named Autumn Amelia who likes to “help” her with her historical research and writing mostly by shoving her research books onto the floor, sleeping on her keyboard, and demanding treats at inopportune moments. Eileen loves Autumn Amelia.
Eileen also loves history which is why she went back to college in her late twenties to earn an undergraduate degree in it. She later returned to college for a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. Now she teaches online courses for the University of Dayton, Ohio. Seems she can’t get enough of college.
She also can’t get enough of books – reading and writing them. And cats. She can’t get enough of cats. Since she’s had at least one since the age of six, she can’t comprehend life without a cat.
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