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Blessings in Disguise by Jessica Stirling

Blessings in Disguise

by Jessica Stirling

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I read this book because Hugh Rae (for whatever reason) took the challenge to write a mutual friend into the story as a minor character. Puzzled by what role a Chinese girl from Singapore, in the 19th century known as the Straits Settlements, could play in Victorian-era Glasgow, I was delighted to find her a realistically drawn and feisty character. The main characters of the book are the McKennas, two sisters and a brother from Ireland who come to Glasgow in search of survival (to say "a better life" would be overstating the matter). Their first stop is a graveyard, where they glean the name of a recently-deceased Irishman in order to seek out his widow and pose as his nieces and nephew. Although she realizes the deception almost immediately, she quietly accepts them, pleased to have some "family" to care about - and says as much to the rent-collector who is concerned that she may be falling for a scam. He accepts her reference on their behalf, however, since she cannily is not giving money but her word, and from there we see all of these people interacting, changing, developing as the story continues. A joy to read. ( )
  muumi | Aug 8, 2015 |
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Book description
Glasgow is a city teeming with immigrants, rich and poor, schemers and victims alike. And the McKennas, fresh from Ireland, have no intention of being victims. When Nolan McKenna and his sisters arrived unannounced on Cissie Cassidy's doorstep claiming to be her late husband's long-lost relatives, the lonely widow is all too willing to be taken in and trusting enough to help them find them a foothold in the city. While Nolan wields a shovel for twelve back-breaking hours a day, the beautiful, trusting Clare takes up with the wrong man instead of the collection agent who yearns to make her his bride. Sharp-witted and pretty, Evie is made of more ambitious stuff and uses her job behind the bar of the Harp of Erin to attract the attentions of Russell Blackstock, builder and land-speculator, who owns half the tenements on Clydeside - and plans to own still more. The worlds of the wealthy Blackstocks and the penniless McKennas are set on a collision course that will mean huge changes for them, and for the city they live in.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0340834919, Paperback)

Victorian Glasgow comes to life in this story of greed, ambition, and true love against all odds.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Mid-Victorian Glasgow comes to vibrant life in Jessica Stirling's latest story of greed, ambition and true love triumphing against all odds.

» see all 2 descriptions

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