Norah by Cynthia G. Neale - Book Tour and Review

Today I am taking part in a book tour, please follow the link to find the rest of the stops on the tour and more information:

Norah: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York by Cynthia Neale

Once she was a child of hunger, but now Norah McCabe is a woman with courage, passion, and reckless dreams. Her story is one of survival, intrigue, and love. This Irish immigrant woman cannot be narrowly defined! She dons Paris fashion and opens a used-clothing store, is attacked by a vicious police commissioner, joins a movement to free Ireland, and attends a National Women's Rights Convention. And love comes to her slowly one night on a dark street, ensnared by the great Mr. Murray, essayist and gang leader extraordinaire. Norah is the story of a woman who confronts prejudice, violence, and greed in a city that mystifies and helps to mold her into becoming an Irish-American woman.

My Thoughts:

This has been my first foray into historical fiction, and I can definitely say it won't be my last. I have to admit to not knowing anything at all about the Potato Famine and Irish history, that is an error on my part. 

I found this book slow to start but that says more about me as it is not a typical genre I would read and therefore there was a lot of information to digest at one time.

I wasn't sure that I liked Norah very much to start with, but as I came to understand her I grew to love her and her tenacity and vibrancy at a time when it would have been difficult to stand up and stand out from the crowd. I found her ambitious and courageous. We could all learn a lot from her.

I found this story to be interesting, insightful and full of facts. It must have taken a lot of research. The writing was very good and quite poetic in places. 

I would most definitely recommend it.

Author Bio of Cynthia Neale:

Cynthia Neale is an American with Irish ancestry and a native of the Finger Lakes region in New York. She now resides in Hampstead, New Hampshire. She has long possessed a deep interest in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Potato Famine or “The Great Hunger.” She is a graduate of Vermont College in Montpelier, VT, with a B.A. degree in Literature and Creative Writing. Norah is her first historical novel for adult readers. She is also the author of two young adult novels, The Irish Dresser, A Story of Hope during The Great Hunger (An Gorta Mor, 1845-1850) and Hope in New York City, The Continuing Story of The Irish Dresser. Her forthcoming book, Pavlova in a Hat Box, is a collection of essays and dessert recipes. She is currently researching and writing a sequel to Norah, as well as a novel about Queen Catharine, a Native American of New York whose village was destroyed by General John Sullivan in 1779. 

More information can be found about Fireship Press here:


  1. It's lovely when a book can teach us about a time or history that we never knew about. So much more fun via a novel than a history book. And to find a heroine you admired. Great recommendation to read Norah.

  2. Exactly, everyone can learn something from this sort of book.

  3. Thank you, Leah, for taking the time to get to know my Norah. I learned there was a real Norah McCabe who came from Ireland to New York City in 1847. I feel as if I've been writing about a real person had lived on this earth. I'm pleased you have ventured into historical fiction and I can recommend many good novels for future reading. I am also writing another novel about Norah McCabe and the working title is, 'The Irish Milliner.' Again, thank you for getting to know Norah and the difficult times she lived in. Best to you!

  4. You are welcome Cynthia, I can't wait to read more about Norah. Days later and I am still thinking about her. Kind Regards!