The Wormdigger's Daughter

"The Wormdigger's Daughter" by John Farrell is a powerful novel of Ireland in the 1920s, in which a farmer's scheme to escape a nasty landlord serves as a strong metaphor for the plight of many Irish during one of the hardest decades in Irish history.

Even before they faced off against the powerful land baron, Molly and Frank - the married protagonists at the center of Farrell's novel - were living a hard life. Three of their four children have died. When they discover that the landlord might be planning to win over their beloved daughter Molly, they decide to make a run for it. As a result, the family is depicted as a band of criminals on the run. They are given a chance to evade punishment - fittingly, by fellow farmers, countryside radicals and sympathetic Irish Americans. The question is: Can the family escape intact? Farrell builds "The Wormdigger's Daughter" to a powerful conclusion.

Price: $18.95

Pages: 253

Publisher: Mercier Press-Dufour

Cardigan Bay

Another tortured era of 20th-century Irish history is explored in John Kerr's "Cardigan Bay." Set during World War II in Ireland, prior to the invasion of D-Day, Kerr examines Ireland's complex stand of neutrality during World War II, while also telling a compelling tale of Nazi assassination plots and IRA gunrunning.

Price: $25

Pages: 344

Publisher: Corona