In 1849's famine-ravaged Ireland, thirteen-year-old Mary Boland is found lying mostly dead on the side of the road to Cork Harbor, Queenstown, Ireland. She just buried her mother and baby sister after they both died of starvation. Now she is headed for Boston to find her father-- no matter what. Raped and beaten by the evil crew of The Pilgrim's Dandy, she is rescued by a fifteen-year-old Negro slave who had been used in like manner for some time and had vowed to throw himself to the sharks that very night. Together they survive the harrowing two and a half month trip, helping others as well. Their friendship is the key to the new world for both of them, carrying them through hardships and trials, and eventually to happiness.
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Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite In a fantastic read by debut author Jeanne Charters, Shanty Gold, the story of a young Irish girl, Mary Boland, will captivate readers from beginning to end. Taking place in 1849, the story begins with Mary being found almost dead alongside a road. The great famine is in full swing, and Mary had just buried her mother and sister, both of whom succumbed to starvation. Mary needs to find her father, and is determined to get to Boston to do so. She ends up getting assaulted by the crew of the ship carrying her to the New World, but is befriended by a young black slave boy. Together they survive the long journey and make it to the New World, where they hope their dreams will come true. I so enjoyed reading Shanty Gold. Author Jeanne Charters has done an absolutely wonderful job in creating a story line and characters that her readers will connect with, relate to, and continue to think about long after the book is done. If that isn't a hallmark of a wonderful writer, I don't know what is. When I picked up Shanty Gold, I intended to only read a few chapters and then pick up again the next day. Well, several hours late into the night, and I was finishing the last page. I simply could not put it down. Any reader who enjoys historical fiction or simply a great read would love Shanty Gold. I highly recommend this book, and I am certainly hopeful that author Jeanne Charters is already hard at work on her next book. I, for one, will be waiting for the next offering from this author.