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About the Book


This historically accurate novel deals
with the love that the Irish have for family and homeland and of the tremendous sacrifice they make so future generations can have a better life. It follows Elizabeth O’Malley, as a child, from Ireland at the height of the "potato famine," through the growth of America, to the time when, as an old lady, she returns to unite her family in Ireland.

To escape the devastation caused by the "potato famine," Elizabeth’s family pools their resources in order to provide passage for her and her mother and father to sail to America, the "land of milk and honey." After enduring many hardships on the crowded, storm tossed ship, they arrive in New York and much to their surprise, they encounter tremendous prejudices against the Irish.

After working in the smelly tanneries, Elizabeth’s father is bitten by "gold fever" as word comes that the precious metal has been discovered in California. Their trip west is fraught with many dangers including Indian attacks and sand storms. However, friendships are formed with other family groups and Elizabeth finally finds happiness as the wife of one of these fellow travelers. Work in the mines is hard and dangerous and when she finds herself a widow with a small child, she migrates to Montana. She again finds happiness as the wife of a wealthy copper mine owner. However, she always has a yearning to return to her homeland, so when she finds herself old and alone again, she makes arrangements to gather the remains of her deceased family members together and unite them in the rocky soil of her beloved Ireland.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning 
to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Preview


Early the following morning something    
else appeared on the distant horizon, land.

Nearly everyone struggled to get to an open hatch so they could get on deck, because the excessive number of
passengers and inclement weather had
prompted those of authority to keep most
passengers down below during the voyage.  Even the crew members and the steward’s spirits were lifted after seeing America’s shoreline.  They too had feared for their lives during the scary crossing, but most hid it by showing their authority as they oppressed the passengers with cruelties, while trying to drown their fears in whiskey.

Within minutes everyone started to
cheer and holler, and for the first time the steerage passengers began to feel some respect from the crew members.  This change in the attitude of those in authority was shocking as the steerage passengers were greeted with  smiles and congratulations that they all made it to
America.  Gone were the problems and troubles in Ireland, gone was the terrible potato blight that caused the famine that had taken so many people’s lives, and most of all, gone were all their horrible
experiences at sea.

As is human nature, those who crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the "Irish Princess," would forget most, if not all the bad times in making the crossing.  Instead, they would remember the good, since they had survived; but most of all, because today was December twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve.

John and Elizabeth O’Malley ran
frantically along with the other passengers to the main deck, clutching one another.  Then as they looked at the shoreline, which was covered with vegetation that kept getting bigger and bigger with each passing minute as the ship surged forward in the gentle ocean swells, a soft, early morning rain began to fall.  And although the air was quite cold, the sky above the lower rain clouds was unusually clear and the brighter heavenly bodies, including the dimly shining moon, were still visible, as the slowly rising sun began to bathe those on board with its enchanting warmth.

The gentle rain was caused by the warm rising sun, which was becoming brilliant in the eastern sky, condensing 
the cold moist air that had formed a thin cloud over the ocean.  

But as John squeezed his lovely daughter in a loving, fatherly manner, his thoughts went back to the past week when he had seen the mother of this precious young girl, his loving wife and his life’s companion’s dead body being thrown into the stormy ocean.  He took a deep breath, and as he sighed, tears started to flow down his slender cheeks.  No, they were not tears of joy and  adulation that they had arrived safely in America, these were tears of sadness.  His beautiful wife Martha was not present to share the joy that everyone was experiencing at that moment.  His precious little family had been divided at sea.  "If only she could have held out for a few more days," he thought, as a wave of depression rolled over his perplexed body.  

 

This caused his emotions to become released, and within an instant he started to sob openly, because he realized she would forever be departed
from his midst and he would never beable to hear the voice that had echoed so many times with such clarity, that everyone hearing it had remarked, "She has the voice of an angel." And John understood this void would follow him for the rest of his life. All the hopes and plans they had made for their future together as a loving family, would become lost in the past, though he was certain she would always appear in his dreams with songs of encouragement and accompany him in his spirit as he proceeded on with each day. Elizabeth realized her father was crying, and she turned toward him with her eyes also filled with tears, and asked, "Daddy, are you thinking about Momma?"

John could not talk because the sadness that was mixed with his unfulfilled loneliness and despair at the moment was taxing his emotions to the limit. He simply nodded his head "yes," and as he looked into Elizabeth’s crying eyes he could feel her squeezing him tightly.

She tearfully replied between her broken breaths of sorrow, "Don’t worry Daddy. I love you, and I will always take good care of you."

As John and Elizabeth remained embraced in one another’s arms, while peering at the distant foliage and the bare trunks of trees that had lost their leaves for the winter and listened intently as another immigrant expressed his thoughts of amazement at seeing so many trees, the vessel turned sideways, and as it traveled along the coastline they began to see something they had often talked about and continually dreamed of. It was beautiful, it was lovely, and it was heavenly; coming into view were some tall buildings--It was New York City!

The structures appeared to be statuesque, and as the ship lunged forward in the swells, the other tall buildings that surrounded the tallest of the buildings gradually became visible.

Each building seemed to be beckoning an individual immigrant with a welcome, "Hello."  Yes, they had arrived! They had finally arrived, and all their troubles, hardships, and problems were over. In an instant, a roar went up from the crowd of anxious immigrants who had gathered on the ship’s deck, as well as those down below.  Most cheered and hollered while others began to weep and cry.  They were coming into Canaan, the land of milk and honey.  Yes! John and Elizabeth O’Malley, and all the other surviving passengers aboard the "Irish Princess" had arrived in America, their new home!

Then all of a sudden, from across the heavens a huge illuminating, multicolored rainbow appeared. But most amazingly was the fact that one end of the rainbow appeared to be touching the tallest of the buildings on the horizon, while the other stretched back across the choppy seas to Ireland. In an instant everyone started to clap their hands and cheer.  They had arrived at their destination and ahead was each immigrant’s pot of gold – their golden future.