shortlisted for Book of the Month selection
Fictional Saga / Fantasy
19th Century / 1846
Druid’s Brooch Series Book 1
Legacy of Hunger: Druid’s Brooch Series Book 1 takes readers on an unforgettable quest from the shores of 1846 America to the distressed Irish countryside of Valentina McDowell’s ancestors. Driven by her mother’s legends and a desire to find an old family brooch, Valentina finds early on in her quest that she will discover friendship and come to realize the betrayal of enemies. She will see beauty and face tragedy. Guided by her mystical visions, Valentina’s journey is filled with joy and sorrow as each step of the quest prepares her for what awaits at the end.
Nicholas does an excellent job developing the story by painting detailed descriptions of the characters themselves, their past, and their present. Readers also feel the intensity of the characters’ personalities through the descriptive images of the ship’s voyage across the sea and of the Irish villages and countryside. Nicholas stays true to the history of 19th century Ireland. She uses this history, as well as the legends from the ancients to provide readers with a real-world sense of Valentina’s adventures.
As I experienced Valentina’s journey to find the answers to the mysteries that haunted her from childhood, I thought of a time when my own father told me the story of his grandmother who came to America as an indentured servant during the An Gorta Mór – The Great Hunger. He told the story of how she met my great-grandfather while working off her servitude in a well-known Colorado bar. As I read Nicholas’ story, I realized that the legacy of hunger is a legacy that affects generations of people even into the 21st century.
Although Nicholas provides closure in the last chapter and epilogue, the happily or not so happily ever after resolutions of the individual character stories left me with deeper questions. It is my hope to see future novels that develop some of these characters' journeys.
Legacy of Hunger is the story of the Irish people who suffered during the Great Hunger. It is the story of how Valentina McDowell journeys to find her strength, courage, and inner soul by overcoming the challenges to complete a quest that reveals her destiny.
© Cathy Smith
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