Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and because it’s the first birthday of my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, I thought you might enjoy knowing a little more about my personal story and why I wrote this book.

As you probably know, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is based on my family story—my great great grandmother, Margaret, and loosely based on my personal story as well. It’s a parallel story line so you who enjoy historical fiction and you who enjoy contemporary fiction will enjoy this novel. And for anyone who is Irish or wish they were, well, this story is Irish through and through.

My family certainly brought their Irish heritage with them, and over a hundred years later, I got a healthy dose of it, whether from the Hawkins, O’Neill, or Graham side. For my family, St. Patrick’s Day was the most important holiday of the year, complete with lots of Irish music and corned beef and cabbage (which I didn’t appreciate at the time). Green walls. Green furniture. Green dishes. Yup, we had them all.

Moreover, we went to St. Patrick’s Church and St. Patrick’s School (K-8). We watched the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the grownups drank green beer (yuk!). We made shamrock-shaped sugar cookies tinted green, and we wore everything green (including our school uniforms all year long). I learned a strong work ethic and my Irishness became a part of me.

In my novel, the historical family are Margaret and James Hawkins, poor farmers who have six children from ages nine months to thirteen years. They emigrate from Northern Ireland to Canada after the Irish Potato Famine of the late-1840s. Can you imagine immigrating on a famine ship with six young children? It was terrifying to say the least. And how did they feel leaving Ireland and moving to the New World? When Irish immigrants came to the U.S. and Canada, they weren’t looking for a handout. They were looking for hope and a future for them and their children, a topic I cover in depth in my story.

The contemporary character, Maggie, has struggles quite similar to my past. She’s a single mother who has lots of challenges, especially when her only daughter nearly dies in Africa. Maggie struggles to survive and heal from the hurts of her past. And she learns to trust God with everything. Yes, The Fabric of Hope is two stories of my personal journey in one novel.

Whether you have an Irish heritage or not, you do have a heritage—traditions, beliefs, and achievements that are a part of your history. Your heritage has laid a foundation for you, whether you are conscious of it or not. Exploring that heritage will enrich your life, if you take the time to do so. It sure did for me.

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you, Irish or not. If you haven’t had the chance to check out my story, I hope you’ll make it a St. Patrick’s Day gift to yourself. I think you’ll be blessed.

 

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