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Spirited Away - A Novel of the Stolen Irish [Kindle Edition]

Maggie Plummer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In May 1653, young Frederica (Freddy) O'Brennan and her sister Aileen trust a stranger on an empty beach in western Ireland, inadvertently placing themselves in the crosshairs of Cromwell's notorious Reign of Terror. Freddy awakens in the crammed hold of a slave ship bound for Barbados. She and Aileen endure the gruesome voyage only to be wrenched apart when purchased at auction by sugar plantation owners from different islands. Freddy is left alone to face the brutal realities of life as a female Irish slave on a seventeenth century Barbados plantation. As she struggles to survive the ordeal, Freddy's harrowing experiences paint an intimate, compelling portrait of 1650s Irish and African slavery in the Caribbean.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this highly researched novel, Freddy O'Brennan is living a modest and happy life in 1653 Ireland until English soldiers force her father to fight for the Crown in Spain. Freddy is a survivor, quick to adapt to dire situations, which makes her an easy hero to root for. Freddy's on point characterization is the saving grace of the opening, as the conflict arrives on the second page before there is time to establish a connection between reader and story. By May of 1653, Freddy thinks she is safe, until English soldiers kidnap and sell her into slavery. Freddy's ordeal interweaves with that of African slaves, and in an honest portrayal, she must battle her own prejudices against her fellow slaves. The novel falls into the cliché of describing black characters as having "chocolate" and "toffee" toned skin, an easily fixable oversight. Short chapters full of hope and Freddy's fierce spirit will keep readers turning the pages."  - Publishers Weekly 

From the Author

        A few years ago, I stumbled across this bit of history:  During Oliver Cromwell's Reign of Terror in the 1650s, a majority of Ireland's Catholic population was either slaughtered, exiled to the west, or sold into slavery in the Caribbean. My jaw dropped and I did a triple-take, amazed. How could it be that I'd never heard of that?
        Others hadn't either.
        The more I read about Cromwell's Reign of Terror, the hotter my Irish-American blood boiled. The massacred, exiled, and enslaved ones were my ancestors. I had to write something about this obscure but pivotal period of Irish history.
       That's how this novel came to be. My fierce main character, Freddy, is an O'Brennan from County Kilkenny because my own Irish grandmother was a Brennan from County Kilkenny. Except for Cromwell, the characters in the novel are fictional. The story, however, is based on actual historical accounts. 
       In 1649 Cromwell led an invasion of Ireland that many historians call genocide and ethnic cleansing. During the 1650s, Ireland lost about 41 percent of her people. The Irish Famine of 1845 to 1852, by comparison, resulted in a loss of 16 percent of the population.
       Cromwell hated Catholicism and wanted to punish Irish Catholics for the rebellion of 1641. Catholicism was banned; priests were wanted men; Irish Catholics who were not murdered were thrown off their land and sometimes "spirited away" to the Caribbean. An estimated 100,000 Irish citizens, mostly women and children, were sold to English sugar plantation owners and literally worked to death. Some were flogged to death. They suffered horrific conditions - disease, starvation, and torture.
         "The curse of Cromwell upon you" is a popular Irish saying. To this day, Irish mothers threaten naughty children with the ultimate punishment: "Cromwell's going to get you!" The bitterness caused by what took place during the 1650s has been a powerful source of Irish nationalism for more than 350 years.
         Irish slavery was an atrocity that should not be forgotten. I find it outrageous that so few know about it. My hope is that this novel will help bring it to light.

Product Details

  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1478140267
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091M6JM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,742 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly-researched historical fiction! August 25, 2012
Format:Paperback
Like Ms. Plummer, I am Irish and was raised a Catholic, but I am ashamed to say that, until I read this book, I did not realize the extent of Cromwell's cruelty to the Irish in the 1650's. This book is an exciting, illuminating and rewarding read. I opened the book knowing less-than-nothing about Irish history and felt ill-equipped to understand it, but the skillful words of the author rapidly supplied the background to this gripping book.

I was touched by the plight of good people imprisoned by an unjust government and forced, at a very early age, to leave their homes and families due to one man's hatred. But 'Spirited Away' is not a preachy book; it is primarily a personal story of Freddy, a very young Irish girl, separated from her family in Ireland and trying to survive in harsh times in Barbados.

The description of 17th century life in the Caribbean makes it truly worth the read. This is one of the most well-researched books I have ever read, and I had trouble putting it down. Ms. Plummer is a colorful and skilled writer and made the island of Barbados come alive with her words. One could see that, as beautiful as the island was, it was essentially man's cruelty to man that made it horrific, especially for Freddy. As I continued to read, Freddy's goals became my goals, to live our lives our own way and to be left alone by the predators in uniforms of all colors of the rainbow. The enemies are human as well, both those truly and irredeemably evil and those who are merely weak in character.

The sex, violence, and grubby filth of Barbados during this time borders on graphic, but none of it comes off crass or gratuitious. It all feels realistic and vivid. It moves the plot along at a lively pace, as does just about every scene.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirited Away -A Novel of the Stolen Irish September 1, 2012
Format:Paperback
This novel is a historical glimpse of the Irish slave trade in the 1650's, a topic I've seldom ever heard mentioned. I was unaware of the plight of so many innocent Irish who were taken and sold as slaves because of Cromwell's hatred. Maggie Plummer has created characters so real, you can't help but become emotionally invested in them. Her description of Ireland gives a clear backdrop for the reader to experience the shock, rage and fear of the main character, Freddy, as she is taken from homeland and family. Unforgettable scenes continue as Freddy is sold to a sugar plantation owner as both a working and breeding slave.

Reading about the greed and heartless cruelty that kept the slave trade profitable was difficult, but the friendships among the slaves of different nationalities kept it from being overpowering. Plummers descriptions of the squalor of Barbados, the beauty of the Caribbean, and the resilience of the human spirit, are well done as she weaves the historical facts in with the characters of her own creation. Readers are left with faces and personalities for only a few of the 100,000 whose lives were taken by the Irish slave trade, but will find themselves fiercely determined, as I was, to fight the human trafficking of our world today.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirited Away will steal you away October 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like many reviewers I had not expected to read this book without stopping. This extraordinary first novel is about a young girl caught up in the politics of evil we largely associate with African slavery. In this tale, two sisters are abducted while walking down their familiar village streets in 1650's Ireland, never to see their homeland or family again. Ripped from their familiar surroundings and deep family ties, they find themselves chained in the hold of a slave ship headed for the Caribbean.

The story unfolds from there in the suspenseful freefall that can only happen to a captive; to a prisoner whose destiny has been taken out of her hands and where the captors obey no rules. The other characters are as memorable as our 14-year-old heroine, Frederica.

Freddy grows up overnight to survive the horror of being raped, beaten, worked to exhaustion, and bred like an animal. Yet, to survive she learns to behave like a slave without being one. The author's thorough research has created an authenticity in the daily rituals, clothing, speech, mannerisms, island technology/artifacts that made me feel as though I had stepped back in time and entered this forgotten world. This is not only a must read but it simply demands a sequel!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spirited Away-A Novel of The Stolen Irish October 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully Written Novel

Freddy O'Brennan is a high-spirited fourteen-year-old. Her family might be poor, but when she rides her horse under the brilliant Irish sky, she is rich--and she is free. But sorrow quickly darkens the sky of her destiny. Her father is taken away by soldiers; then she, her mother and sisters are chased from their humble little house. Terror descends on Freddy and her younger sister when they are kidnapped onto a slaver. They survive the cruel journey to Barbados; freedom and happiness become distant memories.

Freddy's inner journey from innocent girl to young mother before she has emotionally matured into a woman is heartbreaking, yet there is always strength and hope infused into the beautiful writing. Her blossoming love for an African slave is treated with much tenderness.

In this little-known seventeenth-century slave-trade account from Ireland to the Caribbean islands, the reader goes on a journey that changes from delight to sorrow, from terror to injustice--but, always, there is the hope for Freddy to survive the tragedy of human trafficking.

Spirited Away deals with a wrenching subject although its treatment is somewhat one-dimensional. It will likely appeal to most of today's readers. The more serious Historical Fiction reader will want more from Maggie Plummer's lyrical style. Just as with Freddy, there is hope for future novels--because there is wonderful talent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars It was okay.... I was looking ...
It was okay....I was looking for more history and less romance.
Published 2 days ago by catherine jameson
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A harrowing story of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man and the triumph of the human spirit.
Set in 1653. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Margaret Tanner
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! Thanks!
Awesome! Thanks!
Published 24 days ago by Ana E. Padilla
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-told story of a horrible time in history
In the mid-1600s, Cromwell and his men terrorized Ireland, capturing Irish Catholics and selling them into slavery. Read more
Published 28 days ago by E. VanZwoll
5.0 out of 5 stars The audiobook is wonderful!
Listening to Whitney Webster's performance of Spirited Away is well worth your time. I purchased the audiobook to listen to on a work-related trip. Read more
Published 1 month ago by wkhtx
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 1 month ago by alice cauley
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting and well-written. An enjoyable read.
Published 1 month ago by andrew j. kavanagh
5.0 out of 5 stars History overlooked
A history buried. This is a part of history longing to be told. Yes, there were white slaves. Irish slaves. My ancestors.
Published 1 month ago by Martha Anglin
4.0 out of 5 stars Another horrendous part of Irish history told here with...
Another horrendous part of Irish history told here with heart-wrenching honesty. More proof that the Irish are certainly a race of survivors. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Toni
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye Opener!
I heartily recommend Spirited Away! Being a history buff, especially Irish history, I knew Cromwell’s army devastated Ireland in the mid-1600s, killing, burning and driving the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lyn Horner
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More About the Author

Maggie Plummer is a writer from beautiful western Montana.

SPIRITED AWAY - A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH, her first published novel, was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Contest (General Fiction). The book was also a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Book Awards and placed 2nd in the Paranormal Romance Guild's Best Historical Fiction of 2013. It has 97 five-star reviews.

Maggie's much-awaited sequel, DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA, is now out in paperback. The Kindle e-book edition will be released on December 20.

Along the winding trail to becoming a novelist, Maggie has lived in various far-flung parts of the United States and worked as a journalist, book editor, book publicist, census enumerator, telephone canvasser, school bus driver, field interviewer, waitress, post office clerk, fish processor, library clerk, salesperson, Good Humor ice cream girl, fishing boat mate, race horse hot walker, apple picker, and bus girl. She is also the author of PASSING IT ON: VOICES FROM THE FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION, published in 2008 by Salish Kootenai College Press (Pablo, Montana).

Maggie is hard at work on her next novel.


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