Tag Archives: Ireland

Doctored credentials do doctor in after decades of effective role play

The Wrong Road Home, by Ian A. O’Connor. Pegasus Publishing & Entertainment Group. 284 pages. Trade paperback $14.95. Kindle e-book $2.99.

The jacket copy describes this book as “A story of treachery and deceit inspired by true events.” Desmond Donahue, the unlicensed “doctor” who is the central character in this story that reads like a memoir, actually existed. Exposés about him were all over the media some decades back. The value of Mr. O’Connor’s novelistic treatment is in its psychological and moral probing of a man who, by living a lie, denies himself a full and truly free life. ianoconnor-300dpi-3125x4167(11)

Early on, readers learn that the time comes when Desmond’s deceit is exposed. Thus, the question for readers is not whether he will get caught and pay the consequences but how did it come to pass that he made decisions that led to infamy and self-loathing. What kind of friendships can a man have who cannot reveal his dark secret? What has he traded for the stature and degree of wealth that reversed the harsh poverty of his early years?

The portrait of those early years in a small Irish town is rich in detail and totally credible. We can see why Desmond is not anxious to stay in a place that is at once remote and lacking in opportunities. As a young man, he is fortunate enough to have a series of jobs with large construction companies. These jobs enable him to travel, and they open his horizons to possible futures. The idea of becoming a doctor becomes an obsession.

He comes to the U. S. following after opportunities in Chicago. Here, he has employments in restaurants and earns a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) which allows him to consider high education as the next step toward fulfilling his ambition. He take necessary science courses and assists with lab work in various medical fields.

O'Connor

O’Connor

Suddenly, receives an opportunity to enter a special medical program in the School of Medicine at University College, Cork. Desmond returns to Ireland ready to push towards his dreams only to discover that the official who authorized his admission had overstepped his authority. Desmond must go through many lower level hurdles and reapply again.

Dealing with this grave and unfair setback sets Desmond on the path of cutting corners and indulging in smaller and then larger deceptions. Though he gains the knowledge and skills that he needs to perform like a skilled, credentialed physician. He never becomes one. He makes a good friend, Roger, who temporarily solves Desmond’s problems by arranging for false documents that allow him to perpetuate his fraud. Indeed, Roger hires Desmond to co-staff a government-run group of medical centers.

But the risk of discovery is always there, and the rest of his life is based on a lie. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appear in the April 20, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the April 21 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Palm Beach Gardens / Jupiter editions, click here:  Florida Weekly – O’Connor

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BOOK BEAT 65 – Jean Harrington

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   March 6, 2008

by Philip K. Jason

Jean Harrington has been a stalwart member of the Southwest Florida chapter of Romance Writers of America for many years. In fact, she served two terms as president. The glow of success has shown brightly on many members of this productive chapter. Now it is Harrington’s turn to shine. This Naples resident (since 1993) has come up with a rip-roaring, feisty heroine in her first novel, “The Barefoot Queen.” Fiery Grace O’Malley should have a long life ahead of her in fiction. Great granddaughter of a pirate queen who once “savaged the whole English fleet,” young Grace has inherited her ancestor’s rebellious streak and courage, as well as her Irish pride. 

We meet the gorgeous teenager, with her “mane of gold-red hair,” immediately after the death of her father, who has just been hung by Lord Rushmount’s men for poaching deer. The scene introduces us to the conditions of late seventeenth century Ireland, suffering under the exploitation of England and of English landholders who have usurped Irish property rights. A vain and cruel landlord, Rushmount stands for the unabashedly ruthless English ruling class. Grace’s father had found the courage to risk his life so that others might have food.

But Grace’s brother, Liam, a man only too practical and sensible, will not cut him down from the hanging tree for a proper burial and thereby risk his own life. Grace is outraged at her brother, but finds solace in the actions of the village blacksmith, Owen O’Donnell, who defies Rushmount by cutting down Grace’s “Da” and secretly burying him. 

Such timely heroism only supercharges Grace’s admiration and attraction for Owen, who over and over (with a few notable exceptions) rebuffs her bold advances. Because his self-esteem in matters of romance has suffered from the consequences of an accident that has left him with one leg crippled and withered, Owen fights down his longing for Grace and tells himself that he cannot be a proper mate for her. Grace herself feels quite otherwise, and a major interest in the story grows out of this troubled romance.

Grace, of course, has been pursued by many suitors. Among these is “Young Con” Mann, son of Rushmount’s estate manager. The elder Connor Mann had renounced his Catholic faith during the Puritan Commonwealth in order to maintain his holdings, but he is now (in 1665) dependent on the good will of Rushmount during the Restoration period that followed Oliver Cromwell’s purges. The dull-witted “Young Con” would provide a relatively safe situation for Grace, who cannot as a young woman live on her own and who is being pushed out of the tiny family home by Liam’s marriage to Brigit, who is soon pregnant. But Grace is not one to seek only safety and to deny her heart.

To complicate matters even further, Lord Rushmount himself, frustrated in his recent marriage and dazzled by the village beauty, has his eyes on Grace. He would seemingly do anything to have his way with her – and she would be helpless to resist.

But wait, there is more:  Grace herself has followed in her father’s footsteps and turned poacher in order to relieve the excruciating poverty and hunger that devolves from Rushmount’s abuses of power.

In the end, it is Grace’s fearless sense of justice that dominates Jean Harrington’s achievement. Not always mindful of consequences, Grace’s bold actions threaten to bring more harm than good, but she cannot – as her brother Liam can – weigh things in the balance when her heart is committed to a sense of righteous action.

Jean Harrington has done a fine job of bringing knotty historical issues down to the flesh and blood lives of individuals. And with Grace O’Malley, a young woman whose adventures often find her lifting her skirts to her knees or getting them tangled in her legs or washing away the blood of butchered deer, she has devised a vital spirit ready to challenge any influential young actress prepared to buy the film rights.

“The Barefoot Queen” is published by Highland Press. More about the author is available at her website: jeanharrington.com.

 

See also: https://philjason.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/jean-harringtons-lion-of-a-book/

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BOOK BEAT 28 – Julie Palella

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times January 24-30, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

Once San Jose native Julie Palella began reading, she never stopped!  After moving to several states during her childhood, she began to write short stories. Her first full length novel, MacGregor’s Curse, completed later in life, collected dust for quite a while before publication. Her second published novel, Whispers by the Sea, was picked up – like the first – by a small publisher. Being in sales most of her life, Julie knew that her writings would not make much of a impact unless she attended to the necessary business of marketing – and more marketing. 

Her marketing efforts paid off when a high profile agency became interested in another one of her manuscripts – a thriller set in Naples. Julie hopes that the agency will sell this thriller to a large trade house. The sequel is underway. Julie is fortunate to have three siblings, all obsessive readers, who offer lots of feedback on her work. Her husband, Michael, is extremely supportive of her writing career, and her daughter, Rosalynn, is also a writer. 

PKJ: How did you get interested in making Ireland and Scotland the settings for your first two novels?JP: I received a diary from an ancestor of mine that was passed down through the centuries from my mother’s side of the family. Her name was Lottie Hunter and she lived in the Highlands during the turbulent 13th century. A lot of it is hard to read, but I got the dialect from her in her writings and the sense of fear that the clans felt. A lot of the sentences are in Gaelic, but some are in English, with the dialect. This started MacGregor’s Curse. The things she wrote were so natural and just a part of her every day life, and, to me, it would be almost impossible to carry on and endure the hardships. I wondered if a modern day woman could actually do it. The character pretty much walked me through that one, and I started to find strength in human nature and the will to survive as my character, Elizabeth, took me along her journey. Although she suffers in the book (some fan mail that suggests she suffers a bit too much), I tried to make it as realistic as possible.

My grandfather is 100% Irish and comes from Brittas Bay, Ireland. I studied his family and the land and thought it fascinating. Although Whispers by the Sea is contemporary, there is so much tradition that the Irish still follow that I couldn’t resist throwing an American woman into a small town to see how she’d fit in. 

PKJ: What kind of research do you perform to give historical narratives authenticity?JP: The Internet is extremely helpful visually, and I print a lot of things out to get an idea of clothing, settings, etc. Research is actually my worse enemy. I spend so much time researching and find it so fascinating that I literally have to tell myself to stop and that enough is enough. I needed more of the dialect for MacGregor’s Curse, so I watched Braveheart a lot and Rob Roy and just kind of worked it in. Dialect is hard because you can’t use too much of it or the book is just too hard to read and you can’t really “hear” the characters because you are too distracted by the dialect. I only used that in MacGregor’s Curse, and although I have a few Irish words in Whispers by the Sea, it is just assumed that they have an Irish accent. The local library is my favorite hang-out. That is where I do most of my research before starting any novel.

PKJ: Who are some of your favorite writers?JP: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John Saul, Peter Straub.  Now, I know you are thinking: Why are you writing romance? There’s a reason for that. For women writers, it’s much easier to get into the romance genre than the thriller genre. Now that I have these two books out, I’m currently in the editing process of a thriller . . . and I have an agent for this one. My true love is mystery/thriller.
 
PKJ: Have you found networking and support groups valuable?

JP: Absolutely! In my opinion if you want to get anywhere in the writing world it is imperative to network.  Support groups are helpful with editing, critiquing and just how it sounds….support. The Southwest Florida Romance Writers (our local RWA chapter) has been extremely valuable to me. I’ve made some great friends and they are all supportive.  It’s too easy to give up without people urging you on, and when you need help, they are there, giving you advice and pushing you along. I couldn’t do it without them.

Julie Palella is the new president of the Southwest Florida Romance Writers group.  Anyone interested in joining SWFRW can reach her at Julie@lynxpm.com or visit the website swfrw.org. That site contains information about the group’s upcoming “Author & Agent Day,” February 10, at the Grandezza Country Club in Estero. Guest speakers will be mystery series writer Hallie Ephron and literary agent Christina Hogrebe.

 Julie’s books are available from online booksellers and via her website: juliepalella.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy. A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club. Send him your book news at pjason@aol.com.

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