A Reader's Opinion: THE IRISH MILLINER by Cynthia G. Neale

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

THE IRISH MILLINER by Cynthia G. Neale


Beautiful Irish story! Set in New York city in the 1860's, and at the beginning of the Civil War, THE IRISH MILLINER, written by Cynthia G. Neale, follows Norah McCabe as she struggles to survive as a milliner. She is an Irish immigrant who escaped the Famine and who is now a young widow with a daughter. Her destiny sends Edward M. Knox her way, the son of the famous hat-maker, Charles Knox. She befriends an African-American woman named Elizabeth Jennings, who battles for the same cause—the Underground Railroad. Her story is about survival during that period of time and falling in love during times of war, conflict, and hope. Norah is a courageous and fiercely independent young woman trying to do her best for both herself and her daughter. This is the continuing story of Norah, as she struggles during these difficult times. Will she survive emotionally? I hadn't noticed that Ms. Neale had written other books about Norah McCabe: The Irish Dresser, Hope in New York City, and Norah, the Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York. I would have preferred to have known this detail to better appreciate this book. However, Ms. Neale is a very descriptive author and I really enjoyed following Norah.


Rating: 4 Stars | Content Rating: 1 Heart | Reviewed by: Nicole Laverdure


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It is New York City and the Civil War is brewing. Norah McCabe, an Irish immigrant who escaped the Famine as a child, is now a young widow with a daughter. She is a milliner, struggling to survive in tumultuous times. Norah meets Abraham Lincoln, befriends the extraordinary African-American woman Elizabeth Jennings, and assists the Underground Railroad. She falls headlong in love with Edward M. Knox, son of the famous hat-maker Charles Knox, but he is lace curtain Irish and she is shanty Irish. Edward joins the 69th regiment and leaves for battle. Can their love endure through class differences and war? This is a story of survival, intrigue, romance, as well as, exploring the conflict of Irish immigrants thrust into a war that threatened to destroy a nation. It is about an Irish-American woman who could be any immigrant today, any woman today, seeking to create beauty and make sense of her life.


Genre: Historical Fiction | Pub Date: June 2, 2017 | Page count: 368pp | Publisher: Fireship Press

Format Read: E-Book | Source: Provided by the author or publisher



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