I’ve never been a big fan of historical fiction, but this post-Civil War tale sounds like a worthy read. KITCHEN CANARY is the debut novel by Joanne C. Parsons, who retired from a career in elder care and set about realizing her longtime passion: writing fiction.
Here’s the Amazon link to the book: https://tinyurl.com/yc4at5zl
Relying on stories about her paternal grandfather told by her aunt, the Cape Cod, Mass., woman honed them into a novel that readers are inspired by, judging by the 45 reviews with a stellar 4.8-star average posted on Amazon since its publication less than a year ago. Such as this one: “You feel like you are right there with Katie, the protagonist of the story who leaves an Ireland she loves for a ‘better’ life in Boston! I’ve read several books that delve into the theme of how the Irish were hated and mistreated in America, but this book made it very real! Terrific debut novel!”
From the outset, it is clear that Ms. Parsons has a literary bent, her descriptions vivid but restrained. The reader hurts for the teenage Katie, who is heart-broken when her parents demand that she leave for America. The dialogue is terse and riveting. Here’s how it’s described:
“Kitchen Canary is a novel about the power of greed, the toll of guilt and shame, and rewards of reconciliation. At the insistence of her parents, sixteen-year-old Katie O’Neil reluctantly left her beloved Galway. She joined her cousin, Moira Murphy, in Boston, Massachusetts to work as a nanny and domestic. In mid-nineteenth century Boston, Irish domestics were often referred to as Kitchen Canaries and considered property of their employers. As immigrants to America, the young women encounter rejection, fear, and humiliation. Their lives become entangled in the secrets and lies of their employers at 2102 Beacon Street. In four short years, Katie and Moira experience violation, despair, love, and acceptance … This story is about the goodness of others, black, white, Irish and English whose strength prevails to overcome evil and guide Katie and Moira to true redemption.”