Title: For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie
Genre: Currently #535 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish
Publication Date: April 22, 2013
Title and Cover: For the Love of Ireland – Subdued cover represents a Victorian female journalist
This is a mesmerizing fictional story of how these real historical figures affected society and the lives they touched in their efforts to help secure a free Ireland in the late nineteenth century. The story captures successful journalist Irish born Margaret Sullivan living in Chicago writing for a major newspaper under a nom de plume. This is a time when women would not have been allowed any career outside of the home. The book also examines the role of women in business–still a struggle as well.
Margaret married powerful and successful attorney Alex Sullivan as a vehicle to access the powerful political and wealthy body of late 1800s America, access she’d otherwise not be privy to. Alex was at times crude and abusive at home while outside secretly involved in the American Irish support movement and fundraising. A woman was considered chattel in the 1800’s, not allowed to think for herself, but Irish born Margaret chafed at the struggles of the Irish people. She vowed to help in some capacity other than the pen and garnered some support from her husband.
On a trip to Ireland to research the struggle first hand to gather information for a book she wishes to write, she meets young Irish activist Michael Davitt (another historical figure) whom Leslie uses as a romantic interest for Margaret. She is drawn to Michael as strongly as she withdraws from Alex, whose suspicious activities have lately escalated. The Irish American branch of the Land League in America was known as Clan na Gael. The Irish Land League in Ireland sought to rescue the tenants evicted or burned out by their British landlords when they were unable to pay exorbitant rent.
The protagonist, Margaret, is well developed but obsesses over Michael while decrying her own husband. Granted, Alex is made to look like a despot, while Michael a hero. It’s difficult to know whom to trust, not knowing their affiliation, but everyone becomes suspect. A number of secondary characters add either sympathy or further reticence until even Margaret doesn’t know whom she can trust.
I had some difficulty connecting with Margaret, often felt Alex might have deserved more from his wife. Michael isn’t fully fleshed and it might have been interesting to get more of his backstory. This is the author’s debut novel and the dialogue, particularly in the first part of the book, appeared a bit simple. This smoothes out somewhat, but then the reader confronts a few typos or edit misses. Still, a very compelling story of the British/Irish conflict during this time with historical figures come to life in a believable, well-researched scenario including factual events.
I received this timely (March) ebook download from BookBub and was very happy to read and review. Recommended for those of Irish ancestry, those who enjoy this time of year, love historical fiction, or a light historical romance.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page-Judy Leslie) When I walked into the Antique shop in the historic town of Bellingham, Washington at the age of 21, I had no idea that I would soon become its owner and would be surrounded by things I knew nothing about. I researched everything from grandma’s collectibles to old tables and chairs. I quickly learned that there was a story attached to every object no matter how trivial it may seem to the average person. Old wedding gifts, items saved and sacrificed for, mementos, useful and frivolous objects, all filled my shelves.
I lived in the back of the shop with my cat Betty and cooked on an old wood stove that I fed with Presto Logs…When people came into my shop we would swap stories about old uncle’s Joe’s or aunt Gertrude’s hand-me-down trinkets and what they might be worth to someone that wanted that ‘junk’…I would share what I had learned about whatever they were attracted to and soon they would be walking out the door with their new treasure. It was the story they bought, the article was just evidence of the legend. So, it only made sense that someday I would become a historical fiction writer.
Now, many years later with the shop long gone and countless writing classes under my belt, I’m researching the internet and locating out-of-print publications to find secrets about the past. Instead of antiques, I collect fragments of news articles about the lives of real people most have forgotten. I love doing the detective work and unwinding the threads of these various characters from long ago and weaving them back together again in a new version of their story.
My novel, For the Love of Ireland evolved from information I discovered about a Chicago couple and their connection to Ireland’s Land League, and the secret activities of the Irish-American organization the Clan na Gael. If you would like to know more about my novel For The Love of Ireland, please go to http://www.for-the-love-of-ireland.com or https://historicalfictionbyjudyleslie.wordpress.com. There you can read about the real people my story characters are based on. ©2018 V Williams