Laconic Irishman Finbar Laverty is the unlikely hero of this rollicking, picturesque novel set in Ireland, London and New England from the Tithe Wars of the 1830s to after the American Civil War. A mix of iconic figures, both historic and fictional, ranging from Jacob Marley just as he’s about to become Marley’s Ghost, to antecedents of Oscar Wilde and Walt Disney, to the titular Henry David Thoreau, join Finn for the journey.
After Ireland’s troubles and family treachery, the teenaged Finn, his wife Maggie, and their lame son flee to inherited land in New Hampshire. But Maggie longs for her Celtic religion and spirit-infused homeland and is eaten by her secrets. She disappears until evidence of her body is found. The mystery surrounding her death spur anti-Irish, Know-Nothing sentiments that put Finn and his son in danger. They seek more tolerant pastures among the Transcendentalists in Concord, Massachusetts, who introduce them to Abolitionist activism and open a world of learning for young Colman. But old country family enmity continues to plague them until secrets are revealed and debts are paid.
Written with verve and power, this wild ride of a novel clips along, guided by the deft hand of author Kuhn, who does for A Christmas Carol what Tom Stoppard did for Hamlet… a wild dance around and through history and literature. Enjoy!