Paddy is a young servant that finds work in the kitchens of an estate in the English countryside. Paddy has several secrets that they need to keep in order to survive there: their name, their past, their heritage and even her gender. The story that unfolds is of a young girl’s attempt to escape Ireland during the potato famine and live a free life in America, unfortunately a serious of horrible events result in her being separated from her parents and then her brother, and being set on the run from the law and a couple that would have her enslaved and worse. Ending up as a kitchen hand is the first good turn she has and meeting up with the mysterious Mr. Serle her second.
Mina is a delightful and engaging novel with lots of twists and turns at a very enjoyable pace. Some people might have found it a little slow, but the fact that most of the plot came out as back story and only in fire-side chats made the story that much more interesting and gave it all a very cosy atmosphere, considering that the tales were about deaths, starvation, separation and mourning of great loss on both sides. I loved the descriptions of the work Mina did as a kitchen hand, the talk about the smells, tastes and textures of what was being prepared made my mouth water and left me hungry for more, literally!