Saturday, February 1, 2014

REVIEW: Norah, by Cynthia Neale



 
Norah McCabe is a young Irish woman in New York in the 1850’s.  Having left Ireland and famine behind, work and survival in America was hardly attained through glamour.  Hard work and struggles- and the fact that Irish immigrants at the time were not liked at all- Norah’s life in the slum parts of New York revealed the vileness of this time in history.

Norah does what she must to move away from this neighborhood.  She lands a job as a reporter for the Irish American and becomes a true social activist.  Her adventures lead to catastrophic situations where her life is in serious danger (imagine being drugged in a bordello…).  Admittedly, much of the trouble she gets herself into could have been avoided- and, I honestly thought throughout the book, when is this girl going to get it? But this is what keeps the reader going! 

I very much enjoyed learning about the history, though painstakingly crude and horrible for the most part.  Neale stops at nothing to reveal New York as it was and I believe this is what rng truthful to the portrayal of what immigrant life was really like back then.  For me, Norah’s path was a rollercoaster ride that kept me on the edge of my chair- but her decisions often broke my nerves!  What Iliked most was the history surrounding Norah’s life.

An enjoyable read.

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