Monday, November 21, 2011

IRISH AMERICANS


Top o’ the morning to ye! It may not be morning where you are, but the best to you no matter what time of day you’re here. If someone greets you with "Top o' the morning" then your response should be "And the rest o' the day to yourself."

The only place I love almost as well as the United States is Ireland. Please let me introduce you to a few facts on Ireland and Irish-Americans before I remind you about my western historical, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press.


Maureen O'Hara
Irish-Americans have made considerable contributions in the United States from Charles Carroll III (the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence) to Andrew Jackson to Sandra Day O’Connor. My favorite is Maureen Fitzsimmons, whose name was shortened to O’Hara. (Maureen O’Hara holds dual citizenship with the United States and Ireland.) Irish-Americans fought in our wars from the American Revolution forward. In fact, John Coleman, an Irish sailor on Henry Hudson’s Half Moon was killed by Indians in 1609 at what is now Sandy Hook, New Jersey.


Irish immigrants waiting to depart
When the infamous potato famine struck and millions in Ireland literally starved to death, there was a mass immigration of Irish into the United States. Due to their poor education, they were looked down on by many. At the time, it was against the law for Irish to learn to read and write. Only the English could attend Irish schools. The Irish’s only education came from “hedgerow” schools in which someone would teach a small group of children behind a hedgerow using a stick to draw on the ground. Anyone caught teaching Irish children to read and write was jailed.


You ask: What does this have to do with romance novels? Thank you, I’m so-o-o glad you asked!


When I was researching for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, I became even more enthralled with Ireland and the Irish role in my home state of Texas. Many of our pioneers were Irish or of Irish ancestry. In fact, some of my ancestors came from Ireland, or from Scotland to Northern Ireland and then to the United States. 

Because of the lack of schooling, the book's Irish heroine Cenora Rose O’Neill (who may look suspiciously like a young Maureen O’Hara) cannot read cursive and reads only a little in print. Hero Dallas McClintock reads most evenings and values education. This difference causes only one of the many conflicts that arise in the book. (Shameless ploy to tempt you to buy this book.)


Cenora and her family had fallen in with a group of Irish Travelers. The Travelers, or tinkers, are descended from medieval minstrels and poets who traveled Ireland telling myths and stories. At that time, they were respected, learned, and welcome everywhere. Travelers have their own cant or language called Sheldroo, which is linked to the medieval language of the minstrels. Although I'm sure many modern travelers are fine folks, the ones who make the news are of the scandalous type. And perhaps you've seen the TV series "My Big Fat Irish Wedding" and have been puzzled by the attitudes of the brides and their families. 

At the time of Cromwell’s English occupation, many Irish families were turned out of their homes. Homeless Irish families drifted in with the traveling minstrels and eventually became the Irish Travelers. They camped in fields. Later they acquired tents, then the colorful wagons that resemble gypsy wagons, such as the ones used in my novel (see lower right on the gorgeous cover for a depiction). I was fortunate enough to see a couple of these wagons in museums when my husband and I were in Ireland and Scotland. Unbelievably compact, the wagons are brightly painted inside and out.
Available from The Wild Rose Press


Reviews for THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE have been extremely gratifying. For instance, Night Owl Reviews gave it a Top Pick.

"Dialogs are fantastic as the O'Neill family still speaks as if they are still in Ireland. The wording is such that you can hear the brogue. Even better are the blessings and toasts that are shared as well as customs and superstitions. What starts as a clash in cultures becomes a fantastic story. Just when you thought a happily ever after was just around the corner, another corner appears. What should have been a simple, sweet love story developed into a complex family affair...I want more! Fantastic historical set in cowboy country."

Authors love it when a reviewer "gets" what the writer has tried to convey as the Night Owl reviewer did!

In THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas McClintock, but she agrees to wed the handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. She believes a fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.

Dallas McClintock
Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora. As much as he resents the forced marriage, he is not a man who ever goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, and chatters endlessly. But passion-filled nights with her make up for everything—even when her wild, eccentric family drives him crazy.


Here’s an excerpt from the wedding in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. (Aoife is Dallas's new mother-in-law):


Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.
 
Cenora Rose O'Neill
Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.


No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.


Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?


I hope you’ll read and enjoy THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. The buy link in print and e-book  is www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html. Of course, it's also available at Amazon, Digi-Books, and other online stores. You can find me on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon as Caroline Clemmons, and on Twitter as CarolinClemmons (no E in Caroline).

Now here's an real Irish blessing to send you on your way:

Those things I warmly wish for you-

Someone to love,
Some work to do,
A bit O' sun,
A bit O' cheer,
And a guardian angel always near.

That's my wish for you this Thanksgiving season. Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Yes i want this book! if i win it in the Thanksgiving bloghop i'll post a review! Thanks for the headsup and the post