Please make welcome to the Tavern guest author Juliane Weber! We're celebrating her blog tour for her new historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky (The Irish Fortune Series, Book 1). I'm eager to find out more, so grab a cup of ale and let's take a peek into Juliane's wonderful story...
A Message from Juliane
Meet the characters
Under the Emerald Sky is the first book in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine. The story centres around the two main characters Quinton Williams and Alannah O’Neill. Quin is an Englishman and a former British soldier who has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s estate; Alannah is an Irishwoman who lives with her brother, Kieran, on the neighbouring land.
Although Quin and Alannah quickly befriend each other, Quin’s arrival is met with hostility from Kieran. A disillusioned and bitter young man, Kieran has long held the belief that Ireland would be better off if she were out from under English rule. Having fallen in with some shady characters who wish to free Ireland through violence instead of quiet politicising, Kieran’s opinion of all things English has become one of extreme dislike. Knowing this about her brother, Alannah decides not to tell Kieran about her growing relationship with Quin. Kieran is not so easily fooled, though, and nor is one of his associates, Martin Doyle, who is plotting a rebellion against the English Crown and is determined to use Alannah as a pawn in his plans.
Did you know? Throughout English occupation of Ireland, attempted rebellions abounded, with the failed rising of 1798 resulting in the abolition of the Irish parliament and its union with that of Great Britain. Ongoing political and social tensions in the 19th century saw the emergence of numerous secret societies, including the Ribbonmen, who sought to protect the peasantry from real or perceived injustices from their landlords, or the state.
Quin has no intention of letting Alannah come to harm or of Doyle’s rebellion coming to pass. He is, however, a rather unconventional Englishman in that he has become highly cynical of England’s right to subdue her conquered people, thereby making him a little more understanding of some Irish people’s desire for freedom, although he does not approve of the use of violence to attain it.
Quin’s arrival on the estate is also met with suspicion from the Irish tenants. He soon realises, though, that the tenants’ apprehensions have less to do with his Englishness than with his role as landlord of the estate. Many Irish estates had long been taken over by English proprietors, altering the long-held bonds of clan and kinship between landlords and tenants to one of monetary concerns. In 19th century Ireland, landlords were notorious for their lack of interest in their tenants’ welfare, often caring very little about the people who lived or worked their land as long as they were paid their rent. It was not uncommon for unpaying tenants to be evicted, and even those who did pay might find themselves without a home at their landlord’s pleasure.
Quin realises that it is largely this concern that has made the tenants weary of his arrival, rather than an innate mistrust of the English—the tenants are concerned with being able to feed and clothe their families, not with who owns the land they live on. Quin tries to appease the tenants by ensuring them that he has no intention of interfering with their livelihoods. In fact, seeing the appalling conditions in which they are living, he promises to help them better their circumstances by replacing their tiny mud huts with stone cottages.
(During my research I came across a record of a landlord doing exactly this, which inspired me to include this part of the storyline in my book.)
Although Quin had read about the dreadful state of Ireland’s poor before arriving on her shores, he is nevertheless shocked at the reality of what he finds. With Alannah’s assistance, he determines to make the lives of his tenants a little more bearable, all the while trying to navigate Ireland’s complex political, social and agrarian climate, unaware that the disaster of the Great Famine looms.
I hope you enjoy reading about their journey.
Thank you, Mary, for letting me share a little about my book on your blog today.
He’s come to Ireland to escape his past. She’s trying to run from her future.
It's 1843 and the English nobleman Quinton Williams has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s ailing estate and escape his painful past. Here he meets the alluring Alannah O’Neill, whose Irish family is one of few to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by the English over the course of the country's bloody history. Finding herself drawn to the handsome Englishman, Alannah offers to help Quin communicate with the estate’s Gaelic-speaking tenants, as much to assist him as to counter her own ennui. Aware of her controlling brother’s hostility towards the English, she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret – a secret that cannot, however, be kept for long from those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors.
Among the stark contrasts that separate the rich few from the plentiful poor, Under the Emerald Sky is a tale of love and betrayal in a land teetering on the brink of disaster - the Great Famine that would forever change the course of Ireland's history.
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Meet the Author
Juliane is actually a scientist. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky. The book is the first in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine.
Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.
Connect with Juliane here ~