Too late. Just a few
minutes too late. Nory had found the courage to ask Anna Donnelly
for a coin. The coin that could save her friend Cat from being turned
out of her home. But by the time she got back to the little house,
Cat and her mother were gone, sent to a debtor's prison far from Ireland,
far across the oceans to Australia, and all their belongings were taken
by greedy neighbors.
Nory was scared of Anna Donnelly,
the old woman who could heal a wen on the finger, or straighten bone with
her weeds. They say Anna Donnelly had magic in her, but her magic
wasn't strong enough to save Nory's mother from dying. But the bailiff
had frightened her more than the old healer and in her fright Nory lost
the coin down St. Patrick's well, the precious coin gone forever.
Now Nory would have to go back to Anna every day to work in payment for
Daily life in 1845 Ireland
is filled with peril. Nory and her family live in constant fear of
being driven from their home by the wealthy lord who owns the land.
The English lord would rather use the land to raise sheep. Her father
is away, for a longer time than in years past, on a fishing trip to earn
the coins that will pay the rent on their small farm. While he is
gone, Nory's older sister decides not to wait for his return to marry and
emigrate with her new husband to America. Now there is one less mouth
to feed, but two less hands to tend the potato crop. Soon after,
blight creeps across the land, poisoning all the potato crops for miles
around, taking away their means to survive. Soon the lord's agent
is at their door demanding the rent. The family must give up their
chickens to pay the rent and the little supply of food they had is gone.
As the days go by without food of any kind, Nory must find a way to keep
her family from starvation but she must risk her own life to save the lives
of her family. Will Nory succeed? Read NORY RYAN'S SONG by
Patricia Reilly Giff to find out. (New
Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)
Nory Ryan and her family face
starvation when disease destroys the potato crop. During the Great Famine,
the great Hunger of the mid-nineteenth century, more than one million of
the eight million people in Ireland died. Many people in Ireland dreamed
of emigrating to America. This is the heart-wrenching story of a small
family as they try to survive the Irish potato famine of 1845-1852. It
is a tale of traditions, family loyalty and most of all, starvation. Don't
miss this story -- it is important for everyone to read. (Jeannie
Young Reader's Choice Awards)
Twelve-year-old Nory Ryan lifts
her head in the breeze sensing something in the air - a strange smell.
She tried to think of what it was, but, just as quickly the smell had drifted
away. As Nory approaches Anna's house she hears a sound from the
distance - someone in the valley wailing, wailing. Someone with a high,
thin voice. Anna hobbles out of her house going around to the small
field in back. "I can smell it," she said. "I've smelled it before.
Years ago." Nory followed her stopping to slide the pail of milk
into the doorway. The smell was stronger now, that terrible smell
coming in waves on the wind. And then she knew.
What is the origin of this
strange fuafar, this disgusting smell? What is this sidhe, this trouble
that brings about the death of more than a million Irish people and the
emmigration of close to three million?
Read Nory Ryan's Song to get
an understanding of one of the most bleak and haunting periods in the history
of the Irish people. You will never be the same.
Historical fiction based on
the life of the author's ancestors. "Let me tell it the way it must
have been. I want my children and my grandchildren to know.
I want everyone to know." (Patricia Reilly Giff)
(Marsha Carlan, email@example.com)