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Spirited Away - A Novel of the Stolen Irish (Spirited Away Saga Book 1) by [Plummer, Maggie]
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Length: 221 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"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 ... 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?

        It turned out that others hadn't either.
        The more I read about Cromwell's Reign of Terror, the hotter my Irish-American blood boiled. I knew I had to write something about this obscure yet pivotal period of Irish history.
       My fierce main character, Freddy, is an O'Brennan from County Kilkenny because my Irish grandmother was a Brennan from County Kilkenny. Except for Cromwell, the characters in the novel are fictional. The story, however, is based on historical accounts. 
       In 1649 Cromwell led an invasion of Ireland many 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 often "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. My hope is that this novel will help bring it to light.

Product Details

  • File Size: 579 KB
  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Publication Date: December 17, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091M6JM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,788 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 native Irish out of their homes. I even knew they deported many Irish to British colonies, but I had no idea those “stolen” ones were actually sold into slavery on the Caribbean islands. Ms. Plummer’s book illustrates with unblinking clarity how they suffered and sometimes died on sugar cane plantations alongside their African slave companions. But lest you think this is only a tale of woe, it’s not. It’s also a vision of one young woman’s will to survive no matter what, and how she finds love in a hellish environment. If I could give this book six stars, I would.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am embarrassed to admit that as someone with Irish ancestry (north and south), and English as well, with ancestors who fought for the Union and the Confederacy in the Civil War, I had NO IDEA that the Irish were sold as slaves by the English for the better part of a century, from James I to Cromwell. This novel, and its introduction, illuminate that history. And it is ugly. It prompted me to do additional research, and the numbers involved were staggering, and the degree to which the Irish were devalued and more brutally treated compared to African slaves was stunning. While the novel is indeed more of a dramatized history, Ms. Plummer gives us characters about whom we come to care or loathe, as appropriate. The important thing is that the novel forces us to confront the reality she depicts. I would submit that the real reason we do not know about this part of the history of slavery is that the Irish slaves, being white, were able to assimilate into the largely white society over the decades and centuries, and their shame led them to bury their origins as much as possible. Africans did not have that option.

But in an age of political correctness, it is worth forcing people to face the fact that not only black Americans faced the evils of slavery. So did the Irish. And more of their story should be told. Ms. Plummer has done a brave and good thing with this book. Do not be put off by the prudes who dislike the graphic elements, or those who think she romanticizes rape (she does not), or those who dismiss this as a romance novel (it is decidedly not that.)

If you do not want a sanitized history, or a skewed one, you should read this book. I give it my highest recommendation because of what it seeks to accomplish, and in my mind, does very well indeed.
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