NAL, Nov 2002, 13.95, 378 pp.
In the 1840s, Gracelin O'Malley realizes she must flee her homeland Ireland after killing a Brit. With her husband dead, Gracelin accompanied by her daughter sails for New York and her brother Sean with her only regret that she is forced to leave her infant son behind.
The oceanic voyage is a nightmare with many of her fellow passengers dying from the subhuman conditions. American Captain Reinders helps Gracelin survive the ordeal, but she still incurs the ire of several individuals who are now enemies. The ship's steward loathes the Irish, seeing her as a pushy representative of an inferior race. Dr. Draper detests her for demanding he care for the ailing travelers. Both declare that they will destroy Gracelin once she disembarks from the ship and the safety of the captain.
In New York, she moves in with Sean, but is also stalked by the angry steward. Gracelin also befriends a runaway slave Lily. Struggling to survive while fighting injustice, Gracelin finds she is once again at the crossroads with her choices being accompanying her brother west or remaining with her Captain Reinders
LEAVING IRELAND is a deep action-packed historical novel that leaves the audience with a full five senses feeling for the 1840s, indirectly in Ireland and directly in Liverpool, the immigrant ocean voyage, and New York. The story line is a two-sided sword as the tale teems with so much action, it feels at times to be overburdened with subplots at the cost of the key character development. Readers who prefer an action packed look at a bygone era will want to read Ann Moore's tale that leaves threads for a sequel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner