Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Canadian Fiction

Finished May 5
Oonagh by Mary Tilberg
This wonderful novel of historical fiction tells the story of a young Irish woman, Oonagh Corcoran. Oonagh leaves Ireland in 1831 with her sister Mairi and her new brother-in-law Josie to come to Upper Canada. Her older brother Michael and his family are already there, and have sent the fare to bring her over. Oonagh is a woman with a strong sense of self and an independent streak. She believes in fairness and justice and will stand up for others.
In Canada, Oonagh begins a friendship with Chauncey Talor, a self-made barber who escaped from slavery in the American South. Oonagh is introduced to Chauncey by her young nephew Daniel, and as the two adults share their stories, a bond grows between them.
Their private friendship grows into a public marriage and this story illuminates the prejudices and social constraints of the times.
Tilberg based the novel on a true story of a marriage between an Irish girl and an escaped slave and has done much historical research to ensure the story is true to the times.
A great story and very well written.


  1. I thought so, too, Shonna! I was at Mary's book release party in Powell River, and if my husband ever gets the video into a post-able format, I'll be putting it (or at least a link to it) on my blog, if you're interested in seeing Mary read bits from the book or talk about the research she did in more depth than the book.

  2. Oh, I'd love to see (or even hear) that. I find it so interesting to hear authors talk about their process and to bring their own style to a reading of their work.