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February 14, 2022

Signed, A Paddy by Lisa Boyle ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

There was a famine in Ireland that lasted from 1845 to 1852.  During this time, over one million people died and another million people emigrated - 70% of them to the United States.  Signed, A Paddy begins in 1848.

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Signed, A Paddy
June 2021; Indie; 978-1736607718
ebook, print (409 pages); YA historical fiction

Fourteen-year-old Rosaleen promised her mother on her death bed that she would do whatever it took to survive.  With no food, no money, and no family left she traveled to Cork and went to work at a workhouse.  It was crowded and dirty but at least there was food available.  The healthiest people were told that they were being sent to Australia to start new lives.  

After hearing about how they would be treated in Australia, she managed to get on a ship to the United States.  The ship was dirty and many people died during the voyage.  Rosaleen met Emmett on the ship, and he helped her survive the trip. They became friends and eventually more than friends.  They knew that they both needed to get jobs before they could plan a life together so he moved to another town where he had a job promised and she stayed in Boston and worked at a restaurant/hotel where she makes several good friends.  

Her new friend, Marie, is black and explains to Roseleen about the prejudice against black people in America.  Rosaleen is feeling considerable prejudice because the Irish were not liked in  America during this time.  She eventually moved to Lowell and went to work in a cotton mill.  While there, she gets involved in suffrage groups and labor groups that were working for fair pay and benefits for their jobs in the mills.  Roseleen is young but determined to work for the fair treatment of women, Irish, black, and working people.

I've always been interested in this time period because many of my ancestors emigrated from Ireland to America during this time period.  This book showed how the Irish were treated in America and how hard they worked to acclimate themselves to this country.  Rosaleen was a well-written main character.  She showed bravery, resilience, and a firm belief against the exploitation of her friends and fellow workers.  Her character embodies the struggles that many immigrants faced in America during this time.

This was a great book and it was full of information about America during this time period.  It was apparent that the author had done considerable research to make this book historically correct as well as fun to read.  

There is a second book in the series releasing next month titled Dear Inmate that continues Rosaleen's story in America.

Buy Signed, A Paddy at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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