Marguerite Kelley’s childhood home was dominated by the disappearance of her uncle who vanished into thin air. On a windy morning in November 1905, she is the first to hear about the discovery of a skeleton tucked under the eaves of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan. Suspecting the remains are that of her uncle who worked on the construction of the Cathedral, she wants to be the first person to break the news to Roisin, his widow, and to her father Patrick Kilbane. She hopes the discovery will solve a mystery that has dominated her family for a quarter of a century.
Roisin Gallagher has had many names and nicknames during her fifty-one years. As a child, she was known as The Orphan Gallagher. She was married twice and took each of her husband’s names and when her second husband disappeared, she was known as the Widow Kilbane. Although a wealthy woman who witnessed great changes in the New World with a unique story of her own, it was the disappearance of her husband that preoccupied her most. Ger Kilbane was akin to a myth, a man who reportedly ‘fell off the face of the earth.’
Patrick Kilbane came to New York with aspirations as great as the ship on which he sailed. He and his brothers were fleeing more than poverty and oppression. Patrick was happy to leave his family’s sordid history at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and begin anew in America. In New York, Patrick and his brothers worked on the building of St Patrick’s Cathedral and over the following twenty-five years he found great success as a businessman and Alderman in Five Points. When his daughter greets him with the news of the discovery of a skeleton in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he realizes that it is as impossible to flee from his family’s past as it is for a man to disappear.
A historical epic novel of the Irish in the American West
1866: Goldie O’Neill was nine years of age when she trekked across the unclaimed American West with her family to form their own Irish catholic Colony. Their new community had dreams of self-governance and prosperity far removed from the anti-Irish sentiment and prejudice of the ruling classes. They soon learned about the extremes of the American West and the ongoing Indian war. A year after their arrival, Goldie blames herself for her sister’s disappearance. She forms an unlikely friendship with a Lakota Indian boy who promises to help with her life-long quest to find her sister. In the intervening years, as their community flourishes and a new prejudice surfaces, her sister’s disappearance ebbs away for everyone except Goldie.
1937: Lucy O’Neill was adopted by her aunt, Goldie O’Neill. When she learns that her father, Lorcan O’Neill, has returned to the small town in the Midwest after a thirty-year absence, she returns to meet him. Aware of the silence that surrounds his name and the reluctance of her family to reveal the real story, Lucy delves into the past to find a story far removed from the account her aunt had told her.
Bestselling author Olive Collins “brings history to life in this mesmerizing epic spanning 5 generations and 170 years,” The Independent.
“A memorable sweeping saga,” Examiner.
"Epic," The Times
"Engaging and unforgetable," The Post
“A worthy bestseller" The Tribune
"Magnificent and elegant, each page drips with a story and an underlining dignity. Not to be missed,” The Echo.
“Shrill and perfect,” The Post.
"One of the best novels that describes Ireland's recent history," The Times
"A deftly written story of past and present," The Post