Monday, December 3, 2018

Elizabeth DeLancey’s TOUCH OF LACE – Great Love Story Among the Irish in America and a Wonderful Heroine

Set in 1858, this is the story of Stephen Flynn, a hardened Irish boxer, a champion in America, who goes to Ireland to bring his son, Rory, back to New York. His brother-in-law, who was keeping the boy, also wants Stephen to run guns to Ireland’s rebels seeking their freedom. He agrees to help, but wants little to do with rebellion. And he no longer wants to fight. However, others conspire to keep him involved in both.

On the return voyage, his young son Rory introduces Stephen to Anna Massie, a talented but poor Irish lace maker. She is traveling in steerage with the other emigrants and he is in first class. Rory befriends her and brings her food. When one of the deckhands tries to rape her, she kills him. She is a red-haired beauty and the captain thinks to have her for himself, but Stephen rescues her and in an impulsive moment, decides to wed her. And the adventure has only begun.

What a great story! And so well told. There are many twists and turns, too. I loved high-spirited Anna who had suffered so much at the hands of men and yet still wants to be her own woman, a gifted lace maker. I pictured her as Maureen O’Hara. Stephen had loved only one woman, he beloved wife, Rose, a “good woman”, and then he married despoiled Anna, a “bad woman”. But he admires her courage and can’t help loving her.

Delancey has done her homework on the plight of the Irish in America, which makes her story all the more genuine. The daily life of Anna and Stephen in the Bowery and the boys they are raising with Stephen’s son kept me turning pages. I loved this story.

As far as I can tell, this author only wrote three books. I have since ordered another. Here’s the list:

Sea of Dreams
Touch of Lace
Meant to Be

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