19th-century Irish lass Lara Flannigan seems firmly rooted in her home, surrounded by a loving family; but when tragedy strikes, she embarks on a journey that leads her to another country, family, and a life that crosses not only oceans but social class.
Becoming a high-society Philadelphia girl holds heartbreak as much as an opportunity as Lara is forced to shed her childhood connections to assume a role she doesn't quite fit into the new daughter of a posh couple.
In Ireland, Lara notes: "Our days were long and our lives were hard, but our nights belonged to us. I never knew life could be anything other than what I had experienced. My world was very small in those days, so I never missed the things I didn't have." America is quite different, however, and she arrives at her new home at age 13 as a grieving, disillusioned child angry about her losses and changes. She doesn't view America as an opportunity, and because she's been transplanted as a blossoming teen, she'll hold memories of the 'old country' all her life: "Oh, I have everything a person could ever desire. Enough food to ward off hunger for a lifetime. Good health, a beautiful home, fashionable clothes, and the love of my family. I truly have every comfort one could want at my disposal, yet still, I long to recover the missing pieces of myself torn from me the day I left my native land of Ireland. A loss that can still be keenly felt whenever I lay my head down upon my pillow at night. And even though I am far from familiar old haunts, I swear I hear the land beckoning to me in my dreams, calling from across the ocean, summoning me home to the cliffs of Dunmore Head on the westernmost shores of Ireland. Closing my eyes now, I can still recall the smell and taste of the breeze on my tongue and the tangy feel of her salty sea air as it mixes with the sweet scents of wildflowers growing on her craggy cliffs..."
As Lara opens a Pandora's Box of memories for her fiancee, she invites readers to enter the panorama of her past, present, and future. This unleashes a treasure trove of experiences that embrace both personal challenge and evolving American and Irish history.
Lara's Story is a young adult historical fiction read well steeped in the cultures and young challenges of two evolving nations which come together in Lara's immigrant experience. Diane Merrill Wigginton excels at bringing this world's sights, sounds, smells, and texture to life through Lara's eyes, lending a personal touch to historical events that include astute observations of social classes, differences, and struggles.
In 1840, Lara has a foot in both the common lives of ordinary people and the elevated experiences and expectations of her adopted family and world. These clashes and contrasts make for a vivid storyline powered by personal perspectives. Lies, truths, love and death, and the wrenching choices of poverty which lead to secrets and closely-held passions create a vivid, memorable saga that readers of all ages will find hard to put down.
Spiced by spunky Lara's determination and challenges, Lara's Story offers up a treasure trove of the immigrant experience from both countries, weaving them into a vibrant tale that is evocative, thought-provoking, and nicely steeped in the cultures, economics, social issues, and history of its times.
The concluding section of 'True But Interesting Facts About History' will especially delight teachers who choose Lara's Story for its combination of historical insights and leisure reader appeal.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kalispell, Montana – Jeweled Dagger Publishing is excited to present its latest book from Diane Merrill Wigginton, Lara’s Story, available January 28th, 2019.
Lara’s Story is a gripping young adult novel that explores the strength of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness to heal a broken heart.
Surrounded by her large, boisterous family in 1840s Ireland, Lara Flannigan has never known anything but love and belonging—until the day tragedy strikes, leaving her abandoned and forced into indentured servitude. Just when all hope seems lost, Lara is discovered by a childless American couple, visiting Ireland to aid in the famine-relief effort.
With barely a chance to look back, she’s swept away to a bustling new continent—and a dizzying new reality of petticoats, opulent townhouses, and the cold reaches of Philadelphia high society. Desperate for a future, Lara works tirelessly to fit into her new life, while still haunted by a past that won’t let her go.
Lara’s Story is YA Historical Fiction and intended for ages 13 and above, with characters that are relatable for modern, young readers. However, the storyline and content also have plenty to offer adults. Historical information is embedded seamlessly within a compelling story, illuminated by evocative prose that will make the reader feel they are experiencing the story themselves, through Lara’s eyes. Her story is relatable for modern readers, but also highly informative on the early immigrant experience and this pivotal period in American history.
Diane Merrill Wigginton is a mother of three and a grandmother. She recently moved to Montana with her husband, where she is able to enjoy a slower-paced, simple rural life and pursue her passion for writing books full-time.