Monday, August 26, 2019

The Carousel VBT

…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York...

The War had left him blind to beauty…

Kieran Donnelly is a gifted artist who has sworn never to paint again. He saw and did too many things during the war to extinguish the ugliness that lies in his heart. But a chance to work with some of the most magnificent paintings brings him close to the world he still loves…and an extraordinary woman who sees his true heart.

Darkness couldn’t extinguish the light in her heart.

Blind from the age of four, Emily Lawrence yearns to experience the outside world. When she hires Kieran Donnelly to catalogue her father’s paintings, he offers her a glimpse at life outside her exquisite home…and a chance for a future.

Can Kieran and Emily emerge from the darkness to find happiness and love?

Queenstown Harbor, Cork, Ireland, 1847

“Take your fill of it, lad. Remember it all.”

Ten-year-old Kieran Donnelly clutched the icy metal of the ship’s railing, his gaze locked on the wild, rocky coast as the Sally Malone moved slowly out of the harbor.

The long voyage to America had begun.

He heard Gran’s keening wail, filled with grief as she lamented the loss of their homeland. Da’s hand rested on her shoulder, his silent grief palpable. His brother’s spirit, full of anger and despair, reached out to him.

None of it touched his heart.

His eager gaze sought the mist-shrouded green hills, distant, dotted with tiny white cottages. Empty cottages, no sign of the ever-present gray turf smoke rising from their rich, dark thatched roofs.  The fields were black with the stinking slime of the blight, but hawthorn and gorse and wild strawberries still dotted the landscape with bright splotches of white, yellow, and scarlet.

The water bucked and spat white-capped waves, gray-green with angry sorrow under the cloud-smudged sky. A single bright ray of sunlight broke through the clouds, as if to bid the desperate refugees a fond farewell. A patch of sky, so pure a blue it made his throat ache, brought a rush of tears to Kieran’s eyes.

Oh, to capture the image that would forever be in his mind on paper before the ship sailed! The colors, the hues, the light and shadow. The crowds of skeletal people scurrying about, weeping as they waved good-bye, the lone fiddler playing them away with a desolate lament of parting and grief.

One day. He struggled against the harsh sob that clawed at his throat. One day I’ll paint this scene and the whole world will know the sorrow that gripped Ireland in its cruel fist.

I’ll call it The Parting.

 A Heroine to Be Proud Of

Hello, and thanks so much for having me as your guest today! I’m thrilled to be able to share The Carousel with your readers!

As a romance novelists, I’ve created many a fictional hero and heroine. And I’ve been lucky enough to have real ones in my own family. The Carousel, Book 7 of my Wild Geese Series, is dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandmother. She was a heroine any girl would be proud of.

Her name was Emma Laflamme, and she died when she was 88 years old. She raised a family of nine children in a tiny farmhouse on the wind-swept Gaspé Peninsula in the province of Quebec, Canada.

She was also blind from the age of 40.

It must have been difficult for her to look after her children and take care of the house on her own. I only had two children, and well I remember the merry dance they led me at times!

Yet it never seemed to bother her. I remember watching with utter fascination as she kneaded a loaf of bread (made from scratch, no less!), and marveling at how easily she did it. It was even more fun to devour the wonderful results. To this day, whenever I smell bread baking, I think of her.

One of my most tender memories of my grandmother was the way she greeted us when we’d arrive each summer. She would smile and run her toil-worn hands over each of our faces, “seeing” in her own way how we’d changed since the previous year.

I can’t remember ever seeing her stumble, although I know she must have. She never shuffled, but stepped proudly across a room. I even remember coming into the living room, where I was ensconced in the big, comfy chair with a book, and handing me a glass of chocolate milk. How did she know where I was, or who I was? I wondered. I believed it was a sort of magic that only my grandmother possessed.

My heroine, Emily Lawrence, is also blind, and has been since she was four. I based her on my grandmother in many ways.

I hope she’s proud of both Emily and me.

Thank you for having me as your guest today, and for sharing The Carousel and my grandmother with me.

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Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of  Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.

I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.

I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America and Hearts Through History Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero. I have two adult children.


  1. Thanks so much for allowing me to share Emily with you!

  2. Your book sounds like a great read and thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Hi James, well, I certainly hope it is! ;) Thank you for the comment!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it, Rita, and thanks so much for isiting me today!

  4. The book sounds very interesting

    1. Thank you, Lisa, for the compliment and for stopping by!

  5. The book looks like alot of fun. I hope that its a success.

  6. Replies
    1. Hi Victoria, it's my pleasure to share The Carousel it's very special to me! Thanks for visitig!

  7. I enjoyed the excerpt and your post and I'll be starting the series soon, seeing as The Carousel is #7 :)

    1. Wonderful, Teenylivkins! I hope you enjoy my Wild Geese heroes!

  8. What's a relaxing day like for you?

    1. Hi Kim, a relaxing day for me is a long morning walk, followed by lunch and a few hours binge watching one of my two favorite TV series: This is Us and Downton Abbey. I'm looking forward to Season 4 of TIU, and I can't wait for the Downton movie! Thanks for stopping by!