Ireland, 1845. To Briana Walsh, no place on earth is more beautiful than Carrowteige, County Mayo, with its sloping fields and rocky cliffs perched above the wild Atlantic. The small farms that surround the centuries-old Lear House are managed by her father, agent to the wealthy, reckless Sir Thomas Blakely. Tenant farmers sell the oats and rye they grow to pay rent to Sir Thomas, surviving on the potatoes that flourish in the remaining scraps of land. But when the potato crop falls prey to a devastating blight, families Briana has known all her life are left with no food, no resources, and no mercy from the English landowner, who seems indifferent to everything except profit.
Rory Caulfield, the hard-working young farmer Briana hopes to marry, shares the locals’ despair—and their anger. There’s talk of violent reprisals against the callous gentry and their agents. Briana’s studious older sister, Lucinda, dreams of a future far beyond Mayo. But even as hunger and disease settle over the country, killing and displacing millions, Briana knows she must find a way to guide her family through one of Ireland’s darkest
hours—toward hope, love, and a new beginning.
“In this powerful historical saga, Alexander explores how Ireland’s Great Potato Famine of 1845 changes lives forever, and how love can blossom against even the greatest of odds…Alexander's research lends unquestionable weight to the story…Accompanied by an expertly rendered plot, bold and empathetic characters, and prose that jumps off the page, this tale will particularly satisfy fans of historicals and those looking for stories about the redeeming grace of faith and hard work.”
—Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
“…an impactful and moving story.”
—Historical Novel Society
“…a powerful story of strength and resilience during one of the darkest times in [Ireland’s] history. … With compassion and vivid detail, Alexander casts a hopeful light on remarkable and complex characters faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.”
—Southern Lady Magazine
“Alexander (The Taster, 2018) immerses readers in 1840s Ireland with characteristic expertise, blending fact with fiction in this compelling and engrossing novel. Fans of Lucinda Riley and Paulette Jiles will appreciate Alexander's eye for detail and keen sense of place… The Irishman's Daughter skillfully blends family ties with the horrors of a starving country and the hopefulness of young love.”
Amid the turbulence of World War II, a young German woman finds a precarious haven closer to the source of danger than she ever imagined—one that will propel her through the extremes of privilege and terror under Hitler’s dictatorship . . .
In early 1943, Magda Ritter’s parents send her to relatives in Bavaria, hoping to keep her safe from the Allied bombs strafing Berlin. Young German women are expected to do their duty—working for the Reich or marrying to produce strong, healthy children. After an interview with the civil service, Magda is assigned to the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat. Only after weeks of training does she learn her assignment: she will be one of several young women tasting the Führer’s food, offering herself in sacrifice to keep him from being poisoned.
Perched high in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof seems worlds away from the realities of battle. Though terrified at first, Magda gradually becomes used to her dangerous occupation—though she knows better than to voice her misgivings about the war. But her love for a conspirator within the SS, and her growing awareness of the Reich’s atrocities, draw Magda into a plot that will test her wits and loyalty in a quest for safety, freedom, and ultimately, vengeance.
Vividly written and ambitious in scope, The Taster examines the harrowing moral dilemmas of war in an emotional story filled with acts of extraordinary courage.
Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are “fallen” women—unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.
Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments—but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure—and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.
Told with candor, compassion, and vivid historical detail, The Magdalen Girls is a masterfully written novel of life within the era’s notorious institutions—and an inspiring story of friendship, hope, and unyielding courage.
Copyright © 2019 Michael Meeske - All Rights Reserved.