by Eileen O’Finlan

About Kelegeen

Historical Fiction
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc. (March 1, 2018)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN-10: 0228600294
ISBN-13: 978-0228600299
Kindle ASIN: B07B52K2TB
Ireland 1846

Meg O’Connor, daughter of poor Irish cottiers, eagerly anticipates her wedding to Rory Quinn.  Her dreams of marriage and family vanish along with Ireland’s potato crop when Kelegeen’s inhabitants awaken one morning to find their sole source of food destroyed by blight.
At first Meg and Rory are able to use their skills, hers of sewing and his of wood carving, to provide for themselves and their families.  But tragedy and a costly mistake end those means of survival forcing them into more dangerous ventures.
As An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger, continues to churn through Ireland ravaging the country’s peasantry with no let up in sight, Meg is compelled to make the most difficult decision of her life.  What she chooses could be the salvation of the O’Connor and Quinn families or it could separate her forever from all she knows and loves.


The O’Connors were the first family Father O’Malley had met in Kelegeen and they’d quickly become friends.  He remembered quite vividly the night of Meg’s birth.  He had only been in the village a few days.  Stopping by the O’Connor’s cottage one evening in early January he had found Denis pacing outside the door.
“What are you doing outside?” Father O’Malley had to yell the question over the wind roaring across the countryside.
“Deirdre’s time’s come.  The midwife’s been with her all afternoon.  They tossed me out to the manure pile,” Denis had yelled back.
Together they’d stood, rubbing their hands, heads bowed and shoulders hunched.  Without warning, the door cracked open and the midwife popped her head out.  She spoke, but the wind ate her words and the two men only saw her mouth move.  She closed the door as quickly as she’d opened it.
“I’ve had enough of this,” Denis yelled and went in.  He’d left the door open behind him, but Father O’Malley felt it was not his place to be in the cottage at such a time.  He didn’t want the new mother and baby to take a chill, so he’d leaned in to catch the door handle and pull it shut.  In those few seconds he heard two things that set his mind forever on the character of Meg O’Connor. 
The first came from the midwife.
“You’ve a girl child.  And a wee banshee of a lass she is, too.  Not only did she give her own mother a rough go of it, but I’ll be deviled if she didn’t wriggle so hard in my hands, I almost dropped the new sprout.”
The second was the sound of the infant’s cry.  It was strong and lusty, and powerful enough to carry over the fury of the raging January wind.
As Father O’Malley walked back to his cottage he thought to himself what interesting characters the good Lord drops down upon this earth.
Now Father O’Malley had a strong feeling that if anyone could fight the awful battle of hunger that surely would come, Meg O’Connor was the one. 

About Eileen O’Finlan

Eileen O’Finlan calls her writing “history with a twist” because she is intrigued by the unusual and little known aspects of history – the stories on history’s margins, the things rarely taught in the classroom. For her, that’s where history really gets fun.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, her family moved to Worcester when she was two.  Four years later they moved to Holden where Eileen grew up and where she now resides with her 93 year old mother and two cats.
Eileen holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry.  She works full time for the Diocese of Worcester and teaches online courses in Catholic studies for the University of Dayton, Ohio.  She is proud to say that Pope Francis owns a copy of her debut novel, KelegeenErin’s Children, the sequel to Kelegeen, will be released by BWL Publishing, Inc. in December of 2020.
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  1. Thank you for being part of the book tour for "Kelegeen" by Eileen O’Finlan.

    Enjoyed reading the excerpt and can't wait for the opportunity to read the book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Thank you, Literary Gold, for including Kelegeen in your blog as part of my first ever blog tour. I truly appreciate an excerpt of my novel being included in your wonderful blog!

  3. Interesting description of Meg's birth. Guess it a huge hint as to the way she tackles life.

  4. You got it, Irene! Meg is a fiesty, spirited heroine.

  5. The cover art is lovely. The story sounds like a compelling read. Best wishes to the author on the novel.

  6. Thank you, Debra! Everyone comments on the cover art. BWL Publishing, Inc. has an amazing cover artist, Michele Lee. I can't wait to see what she'll come up with for the sequel, Erin's Children.


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