The year is 1887 in Leeds County, Ontario. The O’Connor clan is gathering to mourn the loss of its patriarch Daniel O’Connor, an Irish immigrant. The story of Daniel and his wife Brigit is one of great hardships, including illness, ill-starred romances, war and political upheavals, as well as undying love and persevering faith. As Daniel is laid to rest, his grandson Fergus receives a piercing insight into what his own calling in life will be.
Publication Date: September 19, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
I’ve read other books by Elena Maria Vidal before and I must say, this one is quite different from those. However, it’s no less wonderful.
I also had Irish ancestors who came to Canada (and French ones, also), so that made the story all the more meaningful to me. It gives great insight into what immigrants went through once they came here. It was not easy! Those that survived had to have come from strong stock and Daniel O’Connor was tough. I feel luckier after reading this book, knowing what they went through, in order for us to have what we have today.
Perhaps because this is based on a true story of her ancestors, but I felt a lot of emotion reading Daniel’s story. The author has a knack of bringing out these feelings in the characters and in the reader. The people in the story felt so real to me and almost like they could have also been my ancestors. She brought them to living and breathing life on the pages and I laughed and cried along with them. On top of that, the historical details add so much to the story and it appears that a lot of research went into the book. I found it completely fascinating from beginning to end.
If I wasn’t a fan of Elena Maria Vidal before(I was), I definitely am now. She knows how to evoke strong feelings from the readers of her books. She makes them feel and think and live other lives through the people she writes about. When I keep thinking about a book after I’ve finished it, that’s a win.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Elena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, “fair as the garden of the Lord” as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.
Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children’s etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwords she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.
In November 2009, THE NIGHT’S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine, Touchstone Magazine, The National Observer, and The American Conservative. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. In August 2010 Elena spoke at The Catholc Writers Conference in Valley Forge, PA. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.
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Review at Peeking Between the Pages
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Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing
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Review at Just One More Chapter
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Thursday, October 9
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations
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Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, October 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
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Spotlight at Passages to the Past
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Review at Book Drunkard