Gracelin O'Malley grew up in a small village in Ireland. Her family was poor, but they were happy and survived. When she caught the eye of their English landlord, Bram Donnelly, she was whisked away to become his wife and the lady of the manor. She had to adjust to her new role and please her husband, whom she was becoming less and less fond of. She quickly became pregnant and gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, although only the girl survived. As their marriage became more and more strained, the Potato Famine began in Ireland.
Most of the crops of potatoes died that year, and as a result families across the nation fought to make ends meet. They had to pay rent to British landowners and feed their families. A lot of times it was one or the other. Gracelin tried to help her tenants, but Bram forbade her to. He instructed her to not give away anything, but she still helped where she could behind his back. His drinking, which was a problem before the Famine started, became worse, as did his anger and violence. Gracelin soon learned she had to fight to survive her husband and help others survive the Famine.
Before I read this book, I was aware of the Famine and what happened, although I didn't realize how bad it was. I had no idea how widespread the devastation went and how long it lasted! I was also unaware of the role of the British in the lives of the people of Ireland. The book was well written, enlightening, and fulfilling.
This report prepared by Brittany Joy Higdon