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The Secret Child

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Overview

A timeless tale, written in a very lyrical style, The Secret Child appeals to a wide range of ages; one of those favorite books cherished by more than one generation. Set in 1855, the central character is a thirteen-year-old girl, Marika—an Irish Traveller—running between her thribli, or clan, in Boston and her arranged marriage with a gypsy leader named Jacko in the Midlands of South Carolina. Marika's five-year-old brother Danny is with her, but falls ill and dies on the journey. Cautiously, she allows herself ...

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The Secret Child

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Overview

A timeless tale, written in a very lyrical style, The Secret Child appeals to a wide range of ages; one of those favorite books cherished by more than one generation. Set in 1855, the central character is a thirteen-year-old girl, Marika—an Irish Traveller—running between her thribli, or clan, in Boston and her arranged marriage with a gypsy leader named Jacko in the Midlands of South Carolina. Marika's five-year-old brother Danny is with her, but falls ill and dies on the journey. Cautiously, she allows herself to form relationships with a free black man, Joseph, and a Quaker woman, Maggie. The book interweaves highly unexpected subjects and issues, such as slavery, human rights, and other harsh realities of 19th century South Carolina, along with a mystical, light-and-shadows world of ''Fairies'' who inhabit a nearby heavily forested Carolina Bay. The Fairies of the Carolina Bay have an ancient Celtic history; no tiny wings and fairy dust, these are true spirits of the woods. The Fairies accept Marika to live among them until she can determine what she wants for her future. She is pursued relentlessly and cruelly by the gypsy Jacko, befriended with great loyalty by Joseph and Maggie, and protected unwaveringly by the spirits of the forest. But, in the end, it is up to her to decide between her realities.

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Editorial Reviews

Book Reviews - George Buggs
Delicate childlike remembrances mark this fantasy tale as a story that will become very special to its readers. Healy's power of observation merges with her lyrical poetic style to bring about the story of Marika, a young girl, running from her family's Irish Travelers' tradition of weddings to older men...she faces the harsh realities of guilt, betrayal and antebellum slavery in South Carolina. She also learns lesson after lesson about trust, faith and commitment to family and friends.
Book Reviews - B. Doss
Here's what Wanda Jewell, Executive Director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), has to say about The Secret Child: "The Secret Child is wonderful. Such a great concept. Fresh! Combining all the tribes: Celtic Fairy, Irish Traveler, Quaker, Black and White, set on the eve of the Civil War, where hard choices are made; a story where every character is credible and so well crafted is an achievement. I love this book!"
Book Reviews - L F
Last year I first read The Secret Child and greatly enjoyed it. I just finished are-reading and liked it even more. It is a lovely quick summer read and the visit to Marika's hidden Bay garden is yummy food for thought. Marti has a way with the word pictures that speak to the "Secret Child" in all of us. Thank you Marti for your work.
Book Reviews - Mandy N.
I really loved this book! I loved that it was based on a grave that exists. When I talked to people from our area, they knew of the grave of the unknown child. That connection gave the story, though it's fantasy, the feeling of being possible. I loved the characters, the lovely language and images, and the message. It was quick to read, quick to suck me in, and quick to affect me. I'm excited to read more by Marti Healy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979127779
  • Publisher: Design Group Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marti Healy has been a writer for most of her professional life, including many years as the multi-award-winning Senior Writer for The Design Group. She currently contributes a regular column to The Aiken Standard, her hometown newspaper, and is also the author of The God-Dog Connection and The Rhythm of Selby. She speaks regularly to organizations, book clubs, and book festivals on the topics of her books and her writing career.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    Danny and Marika!

    Jacko :(

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 5, 2011

    Truly a gentle, beautifully visual, deep book!

    I had not known what to expect in reading this book but to feel totally immersed in Marika's world was so unexpected! This book completely captures the pre-Civil war moods & mores through Marika's eyes - but the lessons of tolerance and integrity are so relevant to our world today!
    Though there are fairies, it is not a fairy tale...the issues are complex, sometimes brutal but Marika bridges grief with growth, pain with compassion, and wrongs with powerful rights.
    I loved reading this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Recommended by SIBA Exec. Director

    Here's what Wanda Jewell of the Southern Independent Booksellers Association has to say about this book: "The Secret Child is wonderful. Such a great concept. Fresh! Combining all the tribes: fairy, Irish Traveler, Quaker, black and white, on the eve of the Civil War where hard choices are made, and every character is credible and so well crafted, is quite an achievement. I love this book."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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