The Winds of Morning by @AuthorGMacShane is a Backlist Bonanza pick #historicalfiction #giveaway
Title: THE WINDS OF MORNING
Author: Gifford MacShane
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult
1848: the third year the potato crop failed in Ireland. The Protestant landlords have absconded back to Britain, leaving the Catholic peasants to fend for themselves, while the English feast on the massive amounts of Irish food they’re importing every day.
With two younger brothers to feed, Molly O'Brien takes her father's place on the road gang, building a road that runs from her tiny village to the river and no farther. Yet fifteen hours of labor a day will not garner enough wages to buy food for her family.
She is beyond despair. Beyond prayer. And so far beyond the tenets of her childhood, she has decided to offer her body to the first man with the price of a loaf of bread.
But when a stranger takes her hand, he will alter her life in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
Late Summer, 1848
The afternoon sun played against the waves of the River Shannon, turning them silver, making them glint like thousands of small fish leaping joyfully upstream to spawn. The banks were lushly green, the sky brilliantly blue. High white clouds, soft as cottongrass tufts, tumbled away to the east.
A girl stood on the western bank, her hair glittering in the late summer sun. The breeze lifted it, teased it, made it fly around her head like a bright red halo—unkempt, untamed, yet somehow holy.
Brushing the wisps of hair away, she stared into the river. Her dress hung upon her in rags. She was thin—so thin the sapling behind her threw a greater shadow. She had no stockings, no shoes, no shawl or kerchief to protect her against a day that was growing cool. And she had no hope.
She was beyond despair. Beyond prayer. And so far beyond the tenets of her childhood that she’d decided to offer her body to the first man with the price of a loaf of bread. At that moment, a voice behind her spoke.
Molly looked around, saw a man with dark hair and dark eyes, clean-shaven and well dressed. Her relief at his appearance was quickly eclipsed by shame. She could not speak.
“Colleen bawn,” he murmured in a smooth baritone as he extended his hand. “Come and walk a little ways.” She took his hand without conscious decision, and turned away from the river.
She walked slowly, in time with his steps. He seemed lost in thought and she did not know where they were going, or how she should ask for payment.
She stopped at last and he looked over at her. “I must have bread, sir.”
“I am sorry, colleen, I did not hear you.”
“I will give you my body, sir, but please... I must have the bread first.”
“The bread? Are you hungry, lass?” He shook his head forcefully, raised a hand to rub his brow. They are all hungry.
“No. Yes. No, ’tis not for me.” She twisted away, ready to run. If he did not want her, why had he spoken? Or would he take her and then not pay? But she must have food. She turned back to him, shoulders slouching, fingers laced tightly together. “Please, sir. Just a single loaf I need. For my brothers.”
“I see.” Taking a pipe out of his pocket, he tapped tobacco into it. “And how many brothers have you?”
“Two, sir.” She did not see why it mattered, but she would answer all his questions if he would only give her bread.
“And where are they, colleen?”
“At the croft. I mean the cottage. It’s... it’s not much of a cottage, really... but...”
“I see.” The man stared at his pipe before he lit it. “All right, colleen, suppose you come with me. We will get you bread. Then I will go with you to the cottage and afterwards, you will come with me again.”
“Yes, sir.” She straightened up once more. He might think he needed to go with her, but she would have returned to him. “Thank you, sir.”
He held his hand out again and, like a child, she grasped it tightly. He led her to the public house and bade her sit on the bench outside while he went in. Her taut body relaxed only slightly when he came out carrying a fairly large sack.
She could see two loaves of bread in it, but dared not hope they were both for her. It was all she could do to keep from asking, from begging. Nor could she tell him that the smell of his pipe—the heavenly smell of tobacco—was making her stomach ache from hunger. She pointed out the way, then trotted along beside him saying anything that came to mind to keep from begging for that second loaf.
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On sale: $1.49 through 8/31/2022
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Tolino/Thalia (Germany): https://www.thalia.de/shop/home/artikeldetails/A1059670777
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Based on true events and set in Victorian Ireland during the Great Potato Famine, this novella is filled with characters you’ll never forget & historical events you'll wish you could.
I was inspired to write this book after genealogical research revealed that my father's family lived through this entirely avoidable tragedy, which took the lives of almost a million people and caused a million more to emigrate to the US and Canada.
Enter to win a $20 Amazon US or Amazon Canada gift card
Open Internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or CA account to win. Runs August 23 – August 31, 2022. Winner will be drawn on September 1, 2022.
Gifford MacShane is the author of historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. Her novels feature a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory. With an accessible literary style, MacShane draws out her characters' hidden flaws and strengths as they grapple with physical and emotional conflicts.
Singing almost before she could talk, MacShane always loved folk music, whether Irish, Appalachian, or the songs of cowboys. Her love of the Old West goes back to childhood, when her father introduced her to Zane Grey. She became interested in Irish history after realizing her ancestors had lived through the Great Potato Famine. She’s combined these three interests into a series of romances, each with traditional song lyrics and a dash of Celtic mysticism.
The DONOVAN FAMILY SAGA includes WHISPERS IN THE CANYON (Book 1), THE WOODSMAN’S ROSE (Book 2), RAINBOW MAN (Book 3), and THE WINDS OF MORNING, a prequel novella requested by her fans.
MacShane is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is an #OwnVoices writer. An avid gardener, Giff cultivates pollinator plants and grows tomatoes (not enough) and zucchini (too much). A self-professed grammar nerd, Giff currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats.
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