Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book Tour/Giveaway Kelegeen by Eileen O'Finlan

by Eileen O'Finlan

About Kelegeen

Historical Fiction
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc. (March 1, 2018)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN-10: 0228600294
ISBN-13: 978-0228600299
Kindle ASIN: B07B52K2TB

Ireland 1846

Meg O’Connor, daughter of poor Irish cottiers, eagerly anticipates her wedding to Rory Quinn. Her dreams of marriage and family vanish along with Ireland’s potato crop when Kelegeen’s inhabitants awaken one morning to find their sole source of food destroyed by blight.
At first Meg and Rory are able to use their skills, hers of sewing and his of wood carving, to provide for themselves and their families. But tragedy and a costly mistake end those means of survival forcing them into more dangerous ventures.
As An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger, continues to churn through Ireland ravaging the country’s peasantry with no let up in sight, Meg is compelled to make the most difficult decision of her life. What she chooses could be the salvation of the O’Connor and Quinn families or it could separate her forever from all she knows and loves.

As they approached, Meg heard Rory’s voice coming from within the knot of people.  “Does that suit?” he asked someone in the crowd.
“It’s lovely,” she heard the voice of a young lady proclaim.
“How much for it?”  This voice, a young man’s.
Meg was on her tiptoes trying to see over the crowd, but it was impossible.  A moment later the small throng parted and a young couple emerged, the woman carrying a trinket box with a butterfly carved in relief on its lid.  She slid one finger along the delicate wings as she walked.  The gentleman whose arm was linked with hers wore a self-satisfied smile.  Meg hoped he was pleased at making his lady happy rather than for cheating Rory out of a fair price.
Before the hole in the crowd closed completely, Meg squirmed her way in.  Rory sat at a small table.  He’d set out his few carving tools and wood blocks of all sizes.  Meg saw no finished products, so assumed he’d sold them all.  Instead the table was covered with square and round box bottoms.  The wood blocks were waiting to become lids.
“What next?” Rory called out.  He’d been spending every free moment practicing and could now carve even the “fancy pieces” much more quickly.  The better he got at it the more people seemed to enjoy watching him work.  Once he’d realized that, he’d decided on not only selling, but demonstrating at Gale Day, taking orders on the spot.
“Can you make a heart?” asked a young lady.
 “Hearts are easy. Do you want a round or square box?” He pointed to the different shapes on the table.
She picked up a medium sized round receptacle and handed it to him.
Meg maneuvered her way to the front of his table.  He looked up, smiled and winked.  Picking up a wood block, Rory quickly measured the size, carved it to fit the box then went to work.  Meg’s eyes never left his hands as she watched the graceful curves of a heart emerge.  She followed the trail of his knife as he coaxed the rounded shoulders and pointed tip from the wood.  She thought of the two hearts mingled with the roses on her comb and imagined his hands carving them.  Finished, he set the top on the box and handed it to the young woman.
She smiled her appreciation.  “Is it the same price as the butterfly?”
“Better not be,” said the gruff looking man next to her before Rory could answer.
“Oh, Papa, please.  It’s so lovely.  I do so want it.”
The man scowled at Rory.  “You said yourself, hearts are easy.  If that’s the case it should cost less than the butterfly.  Didn’t even take you half the time to make.  Here’s what I’ll give you.  Take it or leave it.”  The man held out a coin.
The crowd was silent.  Meg knew Rory had little notion of the worth of coins.  She herself had only a rudimentary understanding from payment for her mending work.  This was Rory’s first foray into the world of commerce.  Neither of them knew what a truly fair price would be for the box, but looking at the coin, she believed it was far too small a sum.  Hold out for more she wanted to tell him.  The girl wants it, she’ll beg her papa.  She willed Rory to look up at her so she could shake her head ‘no’ ever so slightly, but his eyes were fixed on the coin, his hands starting and stopping in its direction.

About Eileen O'Finlan

Eileen O’Finlan calls her writing “history with a twist” because she is intrigued by the unusual and little known aspects of history – the stories on history’s margins, the things rarely taught in the classroom. For her, that’s where history really gets fun.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, her family moved to Worcester when she was two. Four years later they moved to Holden where Eileen grew up and where she now resides with her 93 year old mother and two cats.
Eileen holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry. She works full time for the Diocese of Worcester and teaches online courses in Catholic studies for the University of Dayton, Ohio. She is proud to say that Pope Francis owns a copy of her debut novel, Kelegeen. Erin's Children, the sequel to Kelegeen, will be released by BWL Publishing, Inc. in December of 2020.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being part of the book tour for "Kelegeen" by Eileen O'Finlan.

    Enjoyed reading the excerpt and can't wait for the opportunity to read this book on my TBR list.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net