PRAISE FOR ERIN’S CHILDREN:
Oh, how I enjoyed this book! The 1850s era is a remarkable one to read and learn about and The Great Famine (or The Hunger as in this book) is central here. Before reading the author’s notes it was clear that her heart, soul and a lot of research and knowledge went into this. Some historical fiction books make scant historical references but this…this is full of them at every turn, yet not in a patronizing way, which captured my heart! I allowed myself to melt into the book today, utterly.
Two sisters, Meg and Kathleen, leave Ireland in abject poverty in desperation for better lives in America. They had barely just survived The Hunger. Many didn’t. Both girls, hard workers, gain employment in America, starting from the bottom with similar tasks but very different employers. We follow them as they navigate their daily duties, employers’ families, social and cultural differences and mores, weather, their relationships and their faith.
Unexpected mysteries swirl around, too. Through brutal tragedies, detestable people and joy, the author threads hope and heartwarming love. That is what tugged at me most. The book conveys such tenderness and gentleness despite the circumstances and cruelty. The girls remained steadfast. I also like that the author drew on real events.
Historical Fiction readers will adore this sweet well-written book. It’s very believable. The level of historical detail is marvelous! Several storylines reveal wonderful surprises, better than biting into premium chocolates.
– Brenda Carleton, NetGalley Reviewer
– Errin Stevens
Oh my goodness…..I don’t think a book has ever affected me and my emotions in the way that this one has.
– Norma of Traveling Sisters Read Blog For complete review click here.
Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan is sad, happy, loving, faithful and a really good book. I was transported back in time to the Potato Famine in Ireland and quickly became immersed in the story. Meg and Rory, their families, their priest and the neighbors jumped off the pages and became very real to me. There is much sadness in Kelegeen but also there is also much love, prayer and faithfulness. Eileen O’Finlan is a talented author who writes with vivid descriptions and creates very real and likable characters. I don’t know if there is going to be a follow-up, but I am hoping that I can once again visit with Meg and Rory and see where the future took them. This is a perfect read for all and especially those who enjoy historical events being brought to life. Kelegeen is a definite winner!
– Trudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite
This is a compelling story filled with emotion, a beautiful story beautifully told. It features memorable characters like Father O’Malley and the British Doctor, Martin Parker. The author captures the culture of the Irish people with skill, creating a setting that readers can easily visualize. The writing is confident and gorgeous, filled with wonderful descriptions and dialogues. Eileen O’Finlan has a gift for plot and character and readers feel the sense of despair in the community and Meg’s resolve to find solutions. The conflict is introduced from the moment the villagers discover the blight and how the lives of the characters are changed irreversibly. Kelegeen features themes of love, family, friendship, and survival. It is a gripping story that is suspenseful and hard to put down, filled with historical references and social commentaries that allow readers a glimpse of the Irish soul.
– Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite
Eileen O’Finlan paints a haunting and emotional tale of the struggles of ordinary people in the village of Kelegeen during the mid-1800s. The poverty depicted is tangible, the suffering endured extreme, and the loss of life absolutely shocking. At times I could almost feel the thick fog and smell the foul stench of the blackened potatoes which were lost due to blight. Kelegeen is a compelling and atmospheric book which contains an important story in Ireland’s history. A sensitively written narrative of the horrors of famine will stun readers simply because it recounts the horrors of a true story. However, despite the unendurable suffering, the strength of the people does shine through and there was hope for many through emigration. Those who enjoy historical fiction should find this book an engrossing read.
– Amanda Rofe for Readers’ Favorite
O’Finlan is clearly well-versed with the history of Ireland, and her grasp on history is woven well within the lines of Kelegeen.
– Sara Dahmen for Historical Novels Review
A great head-strong and heart-fast heroine leads readers through a devastating chapter of Ireland’s history. A beautiful tale of love, sacrifice, and survival.
- Eileen Charbonneau, Rita award winning author of Watch Over Me
I have enjoyed many books which I chose from Oprah’s book club and this is one that would fit on her list. I put Kelegeen in the top 3 books I have ever read . The author is able to pull you in to this story right from the get go . Her ability with choosing words brings descriptions that you can visualize . I found myself observing this story in a visual way that not many authors are able to deliver. Some books I will read in a day but this one I took my time for two reasons . It gave me time to ponder the reality of the story and I did not want it to end . I am hoping to read more from this author in the near future.
– JudyAnn B. – Amazon Customer
This is what historical fiction is supposed to be. True to its time and place, yet in fluid language to captivate the modern reader without going down any history-book rabbit holes. Characters are three-dimensional people of their day and do not have 21st century mindsets or spout modern ideas. This book explores the impact of the Irish potato famine of the 1840s though the interlaced lives of common Irish people as it unfolded. The character of the priest is especially illuminating. I also appreciate that the author avoided the temptation to throw in period celebrities for “cameo appearances” as some do. Definitely worth a read!
– Amazon Customer
Wow, I strongly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. The character development was masterfully done! As I read I cared so much about so many of the personalities of the book that at the ending I felt I needed a sequel. I need to see how each character faired after enduring the difficulties and experiencing the love and personal growth described so perfectly by the author. The history behind the book was clearly very carefully, lovingly researched. Five out of five stars, no doubt.
– Amazon Customer
A stellar first novel poignantly describing the impact of the Irish potato famine in the lives of individuals and families. Rich in history, the author brings us inside the minds and hearts of her characters with their loves and losses. This book demands a sequel.
– Kathleen Kelley – Amazon Kindle Customer
This story grabs you from the beginning and brings you back into the day to day suffering of the historic potato famine. The characters become a unique support system and each of them teaches you so much about humanity. Faith is woven into the story as the author leads you through this intense and unfathomable event blanketed in an ever reaching passion for survival, love for family and the possibilities of tomorrow. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
– Lee B. – Amazon Customer
I recently read “Kelegeen” and it was terrific! The story introduces us to an Irish Catholic priest, a British doctor, and several families who are all suffering through the potato famine. The characters are well developed and the plot is very interesting. I know several people who have read this book and we are all looking forward to a sequel.
– Cindy Kazanovicz – Amazon Customer
This story transports the reader back to Ireland during the Great Famine. The forthright characters are charming, and the power of their Faith is compelling. This book can help people of all ages understand the hardships endured by past generations.
– Amazon Customer
The author had thorough knowledge of this time period in Ireland. She vividley described the hardships that her characters had to face. The characters themselves came alive for me and their lives seemed believable. It was a bleak period and at times I found myself hoping along with the characters for their prayers to be answered. It was well written and moved along very well.
– James Roy – Amazon Kindle Customer
A haunting love story set against a background of loss and suffering. A must read for all lovers of historical fiction.
– Publius – Amazon Customer
This book is fantastic, I just love a book that pulls me in right at the beginning. A look into history with a love story twist.
– Rachel – Amazon Customer