I received a free copy of Norah from the publisher for my honest review.
About the Book:
Once she was a child of hunger, but now Norah McCabe is a woman with courage, passion, and reckless dreams. Her story is one of survival, intrigue, and love. This Irish immigrant woman cannot be narrowly defined! She dons Paris fashion and opens a used-clothing store, is attacked by a vicious police commissioner, joins a movement to free Ireland, and attends a National Women’s Rights Convention. And love comes to her slowly one night on a dark street, ensnared by the great Mr. Murray, essayist and gang leader extraordinaire. Norah is the story of a woman who confronts prejudice, violence, and greed in a city that mystifies and helps to mold her into becoming an Irish-American woman.
About the Author:
Cynthia Neale is an American with Irish ancestry and a native of the Finger Lakes region in New York. She now resides in Hampstead, New Hampshire. She has long possessed a deep interest in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Potato Famine or “The Great Hunger.” She is a graduate of Vermont College in Montpelier, VT, with a B.A. degree in Literature and Creative Writing. Norah is her first historical novel for adult readers. She is also the author of two young adult novels, The Irish Dresser, A Story of Hope during The Great Hunger (An Gorta Mor, 1845-1850) and Hope in New York City, The Continuing Story of The Irish Dresser. Her forthcoming book, Pavlova in a Hat Box, is a collection of essays and dessert recipes. She is currently researching and writing a sequel to Norah, as well as a novel about Queen Catharine, a Native American of New York whose village was destroyed by General John Sullivan in 1779.
Norah is the tale of the coming of age of a young Irish woman after she immigrated to America with her parents to escape the famine. They landed in New York and anyone with a basic knowledge of history knows that this country did not welcome all of its immigrants with open arms. The Irish were particularly reviled at the period in which this book takes place and Norah is doing all she can to erase her roots from her being. She is working hard to make money, to make something of herself so she can move out of the Five Points neighborhood that so defines her.
Norah is very headstrong, very controlling and sure she knows it all. As with most young people she does not think that anyone knows better than she and she is not very willing to accept direction or criticism and this has her finding herself over and over and over again in situations that could have been avoided. This drove me a bit batty as a reader because you would have thought that she might have started learning after a bit. She ultimately did but it took her a long, long time.
The beauty of this book lies in the history; it’s well researched and deftly presented – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It was not a pretty time in history and it was not a pretty neighborhood in New York. Ms. Neale does not spare her readers and this is very important in the delivery of the immigrant experience. I found myself far more interested in what happened around Norah rather than what happened to Norah. I did enjoy reading the book as much as the main character was not a favorite.
You can see the Norah Tour Schedule
You can find Norah on Amazon.com (Available after 2/1/14)
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Norah from the publisher for my honest review.