Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: The Irish Milliner by Cynthia G. Neale

It is New York City and the Civil War is brewing.

Norah McCabe, an Irish immigrant who escaped the Famine as a child, is now a young widow with a daughter. She is a milliner, struggling to survive in tumultuous times. 

Norah meets Abraham Lincoln, befriends the extraordinary African-American woman Elizabeth Jennings, and assists the Underground Railroad. She falls headlong in love with Edward M. Knox, son of the famous hat-maker Charles Knox, but he is lace curtain Irish and she is shanty Irish. Edward joins the 69th regiment and leaves for battle. 

Can their love endure through class differences and war? 

This is a story of survival, intrigue, romance, as well as, exploring the conflict of Irish immigrants thrust into a war that threatened to destroy a nation. It is about an Irish-American woman who could be any immigrant today, any woman today, seeking to create beauty and make sense of her life.

Suddenly the Civil War seems very relevant and Cynthia Neale does a great job of focusing on the role of the Irish in the conflict. And it's great fun to be in touch with her wonderful character, Norah McCabe, again!” ~Mary Pat Kelly, author of Galway Bay and Of Irish Blood

This timely novel spans centuries to bring to our attention to a topic as old as yesterday, as expedient as tomorrow?emigration. Neale's work, written with love and insight, reminds us that our neighbor is all mankind.” ~Tim Pat Coogan, Irish broadcaster, journalist, writer and author of 1916 The Easter Rising, Michael Collins and The Famine Plot

Publication Date: June 2, 2017
Fireship Press
eBook; 276 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance
*** 1/2

I don't recall reading a book about an Irish immigrant living in New York City during the Civil War era, which I think is one of the reason this book appealed to me and I jumped at the opportunity to be part of this blog tour. 

Norah is a young Irish American mother, widowed and residing in the Five-Points area of New York City. While it took me a little bit to get immersed in the story I found the view of New York City before the Civil War interesting and a true picture of what life was like back then.

I enjoyed Norah's character, she was determined, devoted and caring. She wasn't afraid to stand her ground and worked hard trying to expand her hat business. 

You have to wonder if it would be easier just to put your head down, devote yourself to your loved ones and try to survive the times. I love hearing about the Underground Railroad with it's secret messaging systems, I found the involvement of the hats fascinating and would have loved a little more detail into their role. 

All in all I enjoyed this one, it's always great reading about strong women who go against the grain of society, who want to make a difference and a better life not just for themselves but others as well.

The author's note always finish off a book nicely and I enjoyed learning that Elizabeth Jennings as well as Edward and Charles Knox were actual real historical figures. I could feel the author's passion for the Irish and it shows here with her knowledge of the times.

I received a copy of this ebook as part of the tour in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Cynthia G. Neale is a native of the Finger Lakes region of New York and now resides in New Hampshire. She has long possessed a deep interest in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Great Hunger. This is Ms. Neale’s fourth novel. She also writes plays, short stories, and essays, and holds a B.A. in Writing and Literature from Vermont College.

 For more information, please visit Cynthia G. Neale's website.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


To win an eBook of The Irish Milliner by Cynthia G. Neale, please enter the Gleam form below.

Two eBooks are up for grabs! 

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  The Irish Milliner

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