by Caren J. Werlinger


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1968 - a year of upheaval for the nation and for the Mitchell family. When her father goes MIA in Vietnam, ten-year-old Connemara and her family move to West Virginia and into her mother's ancestral home - a neglected house whose walls hold old secrets of forbidden love and knowledge of things best forgotten.
For reasons she does not yet understand, Conn is chosen as the one who must unravel the mystery surrounding her ancestor, Caitríona Ní Faolain, who disappeared soon after the Civil War - a mystery that has condemned her family to a curse for over a hundred years.
Set during two of the most turbulent periods of American history, this story takes the reader on an epic journey through time as Conn delves deeper and deeper into her family's past in order to end the curse before it is passed on to a new generation. Along the way, she teaches the adults around her something of the enduring power of love and hatred - and the terrible price of redemption.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780988650114
Publisher: Corgyn Publishing
Publication date: 12/04/2012
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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Miserere 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Dreambeast7 More than 1 year ago
In MISERERE Caren J. Werlinger has written an historical novel that weaves together narratives from two periods: the mid-1960s dominated by the Civil Rights Movement and the mid-1800s that saw the Civil War and the end of legalized slavery in America. The story centers on the descendants of Caitríona Ní Faolain, an Irish girl brought to America as an indentured servant. One descendant in particular, eleven-year-old Connemara Mitchell, carries a heavy burden. Only she can lift a curse that began with Caitríona and has afflicted the family for a hundred years. But first she must uncover its secret. After Conn's father goes missing in action in Vietnam, her mother moves the family to their grandmother's rundown house in West Virginia. Soon after their arrival, Conn sees the ghost of Caitríona, who reveals the terms of the curse. In each generation, one girl child will survive so that someday the curse might be lifted. All her siblings will perish. Soon afterward Conn's younger brother almost dies of polio. She realizes that his life depends on her finding out the secret. Through dreams and visions Conn experiences her ancestor's life. Caitríona and her sister, Orla, are still children when their father sells them to the ironically named Lord Playfair. After a harrowing trip across the Atlantic, locked in the hold of a ship, they come to a pre-Civil War plantation where they labor alongside the house slaves. They are treated a little better than the Africans, but not much. Catríona falls in love with Hannah, one of the slaves. The lives of the girls become more precarious as they try to conceal their love from everyone in the household. Catríona doesn't help matters. Quick tempered and embittered, she's whipped for impertinence. Conn experiences the whipping in a dream. Afterward faint scars appear on her back. She discovers a network of tunnels beneath the house and begins to explore, guessing the secret of the curse is hidden there. Meanwhile Conn's mother, Elizabeth, struggles to make a life in a new place. She hires Abraham Greene to help her fix up the house. Once a schoolteacher up North, Abraham now makes a living as a handyman. He becomes a friend of the Mitchell family. Word gets around, and rumors spread. Some people in the West Virginian town think Elizabeth and Abraham have crossed a line and must be punished. Werlinger moves skillfully between the two narratives, building suspense in both. Her pacing is just about perfect. The characters are complex, believable, and sympathetic. Her view of human nature seems essentially hopeful and kind, given her compassionate rendering of characters that might have been cartoonish villains. MISERERE grabbed me and carried me all the way to the end. I put aside everything else and devoted a day to reading it, which is the highest tribute I can give to a story.
Sage320 More than 1 year ago
An Amazing Book Writing about an excellent book is always difficult. Finding the right words to convey to others why it is so outstanding so that they will want to read it is a challenge. Capturing the essence of a book without giving away the story is a tricky balancing act. It would be easier to say “Mystery…..Paranormal…..Love…..History…..Buy it,” but that doesn’t seem to do the book justice. Miserere definitely deserves to have justice done to it. Caren Werlinger has constructed two parallel stories connected through time by family ties and the intolerance that people can practice towards each other. Caitriona Ni Faolain and her sister are sold to an English nobleman in Ireland so that their destitute father can obtain five more acres of land to farm and support the family during the Great Famine. They are sent to pre-Civil War Virginia to work on the nobleman’s estate as what amounted to white slaves. There they make friends with the black slaves and deal with the events leading up to the war. Eventually, Caitriona and some of the slaves are forced to flee and end up in West Virginia, where tragedy is waiting for them. One hundred years later Connemara Faolain Mitchell arrives in West Virginia with her mother and brother. Her father is MIA in Vietnam and they have returned to her mother’s family home to wait for further news of him. Conn experiences visitations from her ancestor Caitriona’s ghost and learns that there is a curse on her family that only she can lift. Meanwhile, she and her mother are not making friends with some members of the community because of their insistence on treating Negroes and other outcasts as their equals. As Conn maneuvers through the events of both the past and the present, it becomes increasingly clear why she is the chosen one. It’s also apparent that events and emotions separated by a hundred years are not only similar, but connected. Miserere is an amazing book. It moves easily between episodes from the different time periods, capturing the feelings and complexities of each era. It addresses instances from US history that are often forgotten or that are fading from memory and makes them feel alive and in the moment. Intolerance, ignorance and the tragic consequences of war are not unique to one period, which proves the point that history has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself. However, it also speaks to how the chain can be broken by the actions of a few good, and determined, people. One note to lesbian readers, this is not your typical lesbian novel. Those who think books must contain scenes of lovers and the exclamations of feelings won’t find those here. There are relationships, but they are gentle whispers in a story that ultimately proclaims the right of people to be different whether the differences are cultural, racial, gender related or in sexual orientation. The book weaves an essence around the reader that draws you in and is compelling in the need to consume the story. Connemara Faolain Mitchell may be one of the most remarkable characters created in literature period, regardless of the genre. So what are the words to use to convince someone to try this book. Buy it…..read it…..absorb it….marvel in it. Hopefully, that does justice to the book.