[openbook booknumber=”038533690X”]


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!

You love the Pope, don’t you, Paddy?” Tom is staring at me.
       “Why, I do not know,” I say, surprised into honesty. “I hardly know about him. Only he did not send help to us when we were hungry at home. Perhaps he did not know.”

I also enjoyed reading about the dynamic between Mina and Mr. Serle. I thought the scenes where she nursed him back to health after a horrible illness were very touching. Their conflicting religions, ages, and backgrounds you would think would result in two characters that constantly butted heads. Instead there was some very realistic easing of tension and honest trust built up between them that was very enjoyable to read about.

As for the ending, you definitely won’t be disappointed! Once the back story is out of the way the adventure really picks up and leaves you turning pages late into the night. I definitely recommend this book to people that enjoy a good well written story, that offers an endearing peak into England’s underbelly, and the injustices suffered by the Irish at that time in England’s history.

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