Rose of Skibbereen: The Beginning

ISBN Number: 

Rose Sullivan makes the ultimate sacrifice.  Vowing to return, she leaves a country unrecovered from a great famine for gainful employment in America to help support her struggling and starving family. She’ll experience prosperity, prejudice, betrayal, love, and loss. A tormented Irishman teaches her how easy one’s life can change.

John McDonnell's storytelling displays a keen knowledge of Irish and American history.  Set in 1880, the Great Famine has led to a mass exodus of Ireland’s people. The setting of this story is not merely a peripheral element; it’s a hostile and alien environment the characters need to survive. Rose Sullivan’s character transports readers to an Ireland experiencing unrelenting hardship. She’s also a vehicle from which to view her new world as an Irish Catholic immigrant in the United States. The tormented man who enters her life offers a male’s perspective, which seems to be his main purpose, along with adding obstacles to Rose’s quest. The main characters are developed in teasing little bites here and there. Time passes. Their world crashes upon them and they float among the incredible changes and great inventions. Will they be victims or survivors?  As this is only part of the story, the answer remains unanswered. Overall, Rose of Skibbereen is a good story with an intriguing setting. It promises a journey worth continuing and a heroine who may leave readers hoping she find some peace and, maybe, some happiness. 

Anna Fitzgerald