Friday, July 7, 2023

Judith E. French’s WINDSONG –Wonderful Tale of the Irish in America, and Adventure in the French and Indian War

I love French’s stories and was pleased to find this one set in America at the beginning of the French and Indian war. It was a time when many Irish left Ireland fleeing the English for a better life. Such was Rory Desmond, who in 1743, helped by a young girl, fled to the Maryland Colony to become a tobacco planter.


Ten years later, in 1753, the wife he loved is dead and with his debts piling up around him and a young baby, he decides to take a rich Irish wife who comes with a dowry. He returns to Connemara to wed Mary Aislinn, the daughter of a wealthy man. But Mary Aislinn wants to be a nun, so her illegitimate half-sister, Linna O’Neill, who has the same name “Mary Aislinn,” devises a plan whereby she will take her sister’s place. Unbeknownst to Rory, she is the same young girl who helped him escape ten years earlier.

When Rory learns the truth, he spurns Linna as breaking his trust. He sends back the dowry and, hoping to make enough money to save his plantation, takes off to be a scout for the colonial soldiers in their battle against the French and their allied Indians. When Rory's troops are massacred and word reaches Linna that he is likely dead, she refuses to believe it and sets out into the wilderness to find him. And an exciting adventure begins…


French was inspired to write this adventure story from her own family roots that began in Connemara, Ireland and lead to the New World. She has done much research into the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the Indian tribes like the Shawnee, and it all comes together here. If you like early American history and marriages of convenience, you’ll love this love story. Linna is brave and courageous, though sometimes impetuous, and Rory is a man whose strength is only tempered by his love for red-haired lass.


French says, “The hardships that early settlers faced in crossing the Atlantic and settling on the frontier amid overwhelming obstacles leave me in awe of their courage and fortitude.” Very well said.


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