Consequences: A Historical Novella

Written by Nicole Evelina
Review by Ilysa Magnus

Set in Dublin in 1824-1827, this story introduces us to the Venerable Catherine McAuley, who is being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church. The young servants in Dublin are regularly being abused and sexually assaulted by the lords of the households in which they are employed. Many become pregnant; some turn to illegal abortions; few have the ability to shake off their bondage. Margaret and Grace are exemplars of that life.

Grace has an illegal abortion, and Margaret tries to flee when she is assaulted by her employer.  She is led to McAuley, who is known for her charity towards the poor and ultimately establishes the Sisters of Mercy. But Catherine cannot find a way to assist Margaret and advises her to return to Lord Montague. Margaret is never seen again.

Consequences focuses primarily on this episode in McAuley’s life and how that one choice impacted not merely on Margaret but informed the rest of McAuley’s choices.   It is also easily analogized to our own lives and how just one decision can change the course of a life.

Although well-written with a valuable message, I felt shorted by the brevity of the story.  Perhaps that was Evelina’s point:  focusing on one specific incident to give us the underpinnings of McAuley’s life choices.