I live in Holden, a town located in Central Massachusetts, very close to the city of Worcester. I have lived here most of my life. However, both of my parents are from Vermont and many of my relatives live there. I dearly love Vermont and consider myself an “honorary Vermonter.” I am 54, single, and the caretaker of my amazing 91 year old mom. I also have two adorable cats (a Russian Blue named Smokey and a calico Maine Coon named Autumn Amelia.) Books and cats are pretty much all I need to be happy!
Visit Eileen's website to learn more about her books and her plans for future projects.
Click link below to read the Feature story in Catholic Free Press:
In 1851 Irish Famine survivor, Meg O'Connor, buys passage to America for her younger sister, Kathleen, and arranges employment for her as a maid. Kathleen's feisty spirit soon puts her at odds with her employers, the bigoted and predatory Pratts. Driven from their home, Kathleen ends up on a wild adventure taking her to places she could never have imagined.
As a domestic servant in the Worcester, Massachusetts home of the kindly Claprood family, Meg enjoys a life beyond her wildest imaginings. Yet she must keep her marriage to Rory Quinn a secret. Rory, still in Ireland, eagerly awaits the day he will join her. But as the only jobs open to Irish men pay poorly, Rory's imminent arrival threatens to plunge her back into dire poverty.
On the eve of the Civil War, while America is being rent asunder by the fight over slavery, Irish Catholics wage their own war with the growing anti-immigrant Know Nothing party. Through grave doubts, dangers, and turmoil, Meg and Kathleen must rely on their faith and the resilient bonds of sisterhood to survive and claim their destinies in a new and often hostile land.
EARLY PRAISE FOR ERIN'S CHILDREN:This review is from NetGalley reviewer Brenda Carleton. Thank you, Brenda, for the awesome review!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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 Some historical fiction books make scant historical references but this...this is full of them at every turn, yet not in a patronizing way, which captured my heart!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.
On an evening in 1846 engaged couple Meg O’Connor and Rory Quinn join in an exuberant moondance. Observing is the parish priest, Father Brian O’Malley. The moondance brings bittersweet memories of Siobhan, the long-dead love of his youth, with whom he still feels a spiritual connection. Within days of the dance, the villagers of Kelegeen awake to find their potato crops destroyed by blight. They’ve been through famine before. But this is an Gorta Mór, a monster the likes of which Ireland has never seen.
At first Meg and Rory devise ways to help provide for their families, Meg through her sewing, Rory with his wood carving. But when tragedy and a costly mistake end those means of survival they turn to more dangerous ventures.
Father O’Malley reluctantly teams up with an English doctor, Martin Parker, to alleviate Kelegeen’s suffering.
When Meg learns of ships carrying Irish passengers to a new life in America she is determined to go and bring Rory and their families after her. It will take all her strength and courage along with the help of her beloved priest and the English doctor to make the plan succeed.
Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo 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.
Reviewed By Amanda Rofe for Readers’ Favorite
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.