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Irish Memories With a Touch of Courage
Iâ€™ve always been fascinated with Ireland, not Hollywoodâ€™s version where everyone sounds like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, but the real one of my fatherâ€™s childhood. The place where he foraged for food, hunted rabbits, fished in the river, and read poetry by candlelight.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. I was born in England, to Irish parents. We lived on the outskirts of London, where cars clog the streets and there is an incessant roar of planes from nearby Heathrow Airport.
In all the hustle and bustle of city life I would escape into my fatherâ€™s stories. Itâ€™s not that they were romanticized in any way; his family were almost oppressively poor. He and his thirteen brothers and sisters lived in a four-room cottage with a dirt floor and an outhouse. My grandmother cooked the food they gathered over a fire in the hearth. In his world the local healer cured my grandmother of leg sores using a poultice she made from weeds from the garden. I hope this folk knowledge hasnâ€™t been lost.
I think it was his love of country life that held my attention, that and the fact that his childhood was so different from my own. He described a world where every insect, plant and animal had its place.
I did, in fact, spend many teenage holidays visiting my cousins in Ireland, but as an adult my path led me to Canada where I settled down, and had a family. It wasnâ€™t until my middle years that I read How The Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. In this book the author describes a society that is strange and yet familiar.
The love of literature and poetry that had been instilled into my father as a child was there â€“ a cultural phenomenon. I delved into the history books and as I read more and made more discoveries, I learned of other similarities to the world my father described. People in Early Christian Ireland farmed, tended cattle, and lived off the land gathering, nuts, berries and plants. As my research continued I gained a better understanding of my fatherâ€™s relationship with nature, and why he spent so much time in his garden.
But there were differences too. In early Christian Ireland women could own property, become healers, lawyers, poets, scholars, and divorce their husbands. Women in my fatherâ€™s day were denied these rights, and only regained them in the late twentieth century.
I became captivated by the unique culture of Medieval Ireland. It was a place and time where women were strong, and powerful. It was the perfect setting for my heroine, an independent, confident woman, who was also the leader of her people. And so Fianna was born, queen of the Byrne, and A Woman Of Courage.
When an injured Fianna Byrne turns up at Connell Oâ€™Neillâ€™s gate twelve years after their separation he knows this could be his last chance to find happiness with the woman he loves.
False accusations against Fianna had strained relations between their clans and forced Connell, under Irish law, to divorce her. Their disastrous three-month relationship left Fianna pregnant and heartbroken. She has avoided Duncarraig and her ex-husband ever since.
But with her home obliterated by the Vikings, Fianna must face her past in order to save her son, and prove once and for all she is a woman of courage.
Twelve years ago sheâ€™d been Connellâ€™s wife. His devastating rejection of her, after only three months of marriage, and their subsequent divorce caused a pain so real it twisted her insides. The hostilities that ensued after their separation, followed by an uneasy truce when she found she was pregnant with their son, Lorcan, made it prudent to restrict her contact.
During their short marriage he had weakened her in a way no other man could. Sheâ€™d transformed into a woman so overtaken with lust sheâ€™d been blind to everything, including his true feelings. With Connell all her instincts, control, and intellect became like overcooked oats, a sludge that thought of nothing except him.
Her breath caught when her former husband strode out of the large central house, marching toward her. His long limbs and easy stride accentuated the rippling muscles of his legs. Every movement emphasized his grace and strength. He was still tall and broad, with long, smooth, black hair and a black beard to match. He would have been too handsome, too pretty, if it hadnâ€™t been for his large crooked nose. That imperfection added to his allure, making him more appealing. Her pulse quickened, and her body warmed with need. She forgot her reason for being here, forgot everything except him. Damn it. Even in her injured state, with everything she had endured, he still had the ability to turn her mind to mud.
After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children and letâ€™s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories. You can visit Marlow at www.marlowkelly.com
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