We’ve all heard about “the luck of the Irish.” But what about their suffering? Even in Ireland, history lessons barely discuss the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century. Textbooks include the blight but don’t detail the suffering and anguish caused by the scourged potato crops. Omitted is the trauma which killed over a million Irish and caused another million to emigrate to England, Wales, and America. The Irishman’s Daughter (Kensington) by V. S. Alexander is a history lesson on steroids.

Brian Walsh is the land agent for Lear House, the country estate of English gentleman Sir Thomas Blakely, who is only there for two months of the year. Life is good in County Mayo in 1845, with potato crops thriving and tenants living off the land.

Until famine strikes.

Briana Walsh can’t believe their lives have gone from happiness, security, and abundance to poverty and starvation. Her father has done everything he can to keep Lear House from going bankrupt, but they can’t save the rotting potato plants. Tenants export the few harvested crops to feed England—the money earned used to pay rent—while the farmers and their families starve. Soon, no one will have either food or money.

Briana’s sister, Lucinda, has always loved education and luxury more than the Walsh family’s simple life. Employed by Sir Thomas as a governess for a wealthy English family, she can’t envision the blight in her homeland. Soon, she hopes to win Sir Thomas’s fancy and marry into luxury and security. Will her dreams dissolve, just like the potato crops?

Briana and Rory Caulfield, the man she’s loved her entire life, must do everything they can to feed the people on Lear House lands, even joining forces with the radical group the Molly Maguires. But the rot in the potato fields soon causes unfathomable devastation, even testing the faith of the church and its followers.   

The Walsh and Caulfield families must make life or death decisions to survive the blight that has descended upon Ireland. Should they fight the English oppressors or cater to their callous requests? Could they even consider leaving their beloved Ireland for America, and if they did, would it end their suffering or add to it?

The Irishman’s Daughter lets readers peer through a historical telescope to better understand the impact of class divisions in 19th century Ireland and the resulting desperate fight for survival. Also timely is the story’s intimate portrayal of the struggles of immigrants whose only desire is to care for their families while facing discrimination and exploitation.

This gripping story thrusts us into the hearts of a family who risks everything to help their fellow Irishmen survive the devastation of The Great Hunger. Written with hope for a better tomorrow, V. S. Alexander gives readers an intimate heart-wrenching account of the unimaginable suffering of those who clawed their way through Ireland’s darkest years.

The Irishman’s Daughter is now available for purchase.

About V. S. Alexander

V.S. Alexander is an ardent student of history with a strong interest in music and the visual arts. Some of V.S.’s writing influences include Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, or any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters. V.S. lives in Florida and is at work on a second historical novel for Kensington.