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Cynthia Neale

Cynthia Neale is an American with Irish ancestry and a native of the Finger Lakes region in New York. She now resides in Hampstead, New Hampshire. She has long possessed a deep interest in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Potato Famine or “The Great Hunger.”  She is a graduate of Vermont College in Montpelier, VT, with a B.A. degree in Literature and Creative Writing. Norah is her first historical novel for adult readers.

Neale is also the author of two young adult novels, The Irish Dresser, A Story of Hope during The Great Hunger (An Gorta Mor, 1845-1850) and Hope in New York City, The Continuing Story of The Irish Dresser. Her forthcoming book, Pavlova in a Hat Box, is a collection of essays and dessert recipes. She is currently researching and writing a novel about Queen Catharine, a Native American of New York whose village was destroyed by General John Sullivan in 1779.


“Suddenly the Civil War seems very relevant and Cynthia Neale does a great job of focusing on the role of the Irish in the conflict. And it’s great fun to be in touch with her wonderful character, Norah McCabe, again!” ~Mary Pat Kelly, author of Galway Bay and Of Irish Blood

“This timely novel spans centuries to bring to our attention to a topic as old as yesterday, as expedient as tomorrow¾emigration. Neale’s work, written with love and insight, reminds us that our neighbor is all mankind.” ~Tim Pat Coogan, Irish broadcaster, journalist, writer and author of 1916 The Easter Rising, Michael Collins and The Famine Plot

This story is filled with so much intrigue, mystery, and beauty, that you’ll cling to every word while watching Norah grow into a strong,courageous, and brilliant woman, who ends up truly proud of her Irish blood.” ~ Feathered Quill Book Reviews

In her exciting historical novel, Norah, Cynthia G. Neale shows us 19th-century New York through the eyes of an Irish-American woman and thus gives us new insights into this tumultuous time. We see Norah McCabe making her way against all odds. A memorable journey!” ~ Mary Pat Kelly, author of the best-selling novel Galway Bay.

You don’t have to be Irish to appreciate Norah McCabe. Hers is an an American story of self-creation through sheer grit and imagination. This historical novel paints an authentic and compelling picture of what it means to be young, poor, and female longing for a better life in 1850s New York City…You’ll root for Norah as {she} embarks on a dramatic journey to achieve a hard-won identity as a self-sufficient Irish-American woman in a turbulent time.” ~ Nancy Kelley, author of This Whispering Rod.

Norah is a story of a young immigrant woman battling hardship, poverty and prejudice in New York in the 1850’s. It has obviously been lovingly researched. The portraits of Norah McCabe and her family are beautifully drawn and although at times the language is breathtakingly lyrical, this novel tells it like it was, grit and all. All the hard facts of life for an Irish immigrant are between these pages; poor housing, the bordellos, street fights, and the cut and thrust of the gang underworld. It is certainly not the usual run-of-the-mill historical and I can highly recommend it as a slice of real life for anyone with an interest in this period of New York history, particularly those with family or connections to Ireland. ~ Deborah Swift, Author of The Lady’s Slipper and The Gilded Lily Cover Work.

Press Release: New Book Release from Fireship Press – The Irish Milliner: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th Century New York


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