Guest post with Kathleen L. Maher for her new romance novel: Bachelor Buttons!
Thank you so much, Tabitha for having me as your guest today! I’m excited to share about my Irish historical romance, re-releasing just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Bachelor Buttons is a story near and dear to my heart, since it has all the things I love to write about—the Civil War, New York history, and best of all, the romance part of the story is loosely based on my great, great grandmother’s unusual courtship with my great, great grandfather.
About the book:
Title: Bachelor Buttons
Author: Kathleen L. Maher
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2020
The daughter of immigrants who fled the Irish Potato Famine, Rose Meehan longs for a better life than the tenements of New York City. Courted by two men–a young doctor who represents material security, and a poor violin instructor who has captured her heart–she must choose between the two. When Manhattan explodes in mob rule following Lincoln’s unpopular draft, Rose’s decision could mean the difference between life and death.
Since it’s the month where everything is green and everyone is Irish, I thought I’d take the opportunity and share a wee bit of Irish trivia, and the three most popular symbols of Ireland and their significance, plus a CONTEST. But first, some fun facts.
Ireland is predominantly Catholic, between 80 and 90 percent, to be sure. But what you might not know is that many Irish believe that when they die, they will face the judgment from St. Patrick, while Jesus will judge the rest of the world. 😀
Did you know that St. Patrick was not Irish born, but Roman, and was kidnapped by a Celtic chieftain and made a slave? It’s true. And when he was a young man he escaped, made it back to Rome, became a devout Christian, and returned to spread the gospel to the pagan Celts who had previously held him in slavery.
Another interesting Irish fact is that while many credit St. Patrick with driving out all the serpents, which we will neither confirm nor deny here, the truth is that there are no snakes on the Emerald Isle. My kind of vacation destination. No guarantees about spiders, though. Sorry.
Another cool tidbit is that there are a great many Irish writers, four of whom won the Nobel Prize for Literature. There really is something about the Irish and their gift for spinning a yarn. Telling a tale. Their gift for story. Maybe they went to Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney stone? Probably a good idea for any fiction author.
Here’s a strange and funny one. A tradition at an Irish wedding is to throw an old shoe over the bride’s head to bring good luck. Just be careful you’ve got enough clearance, though, so it doesn’t hit her in the head. Irish tempers are legendary. And that would be bad luck for you!
And now, the three most common symbols of Ireland.
The Clairseach, or Irish harp, appears on many Irish logos. My great grandfather fought in the NY “Fighting Irish” 69th regiment, which has the harp on their regimental banner. Guinness is another famous brand that uses the harp in their advertising. The history with the harp is that it became an emblem of Irish resistance to the British crown and was actually outlawed at the end of the Medieval period. Who knew the harp, such a peaceful instrument, could cause such trouble? But then, we Irish do love a good fight now and then. Ahem. I’ll speak for myself.
The next symbol, the shamrock, needs no introduction. But it may deserve a moment of distinction from the common clover. Shamrocks grow a lovely white flower, and have three heart-shaped leaves, as opposed to the rounded leaves of the clover. Legend tells that St. Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to describe the triune nature of God—Father , Spirit, and Son, the godhead three-in-one. That is why the four-leaf clover, while perhaps lucky, is not a true historical symbol of Ireland.
And finally, the Celtic Cross—a lovely form that is seen in stone carvings all over Ireland. Some of the original sixth century stones stand six to eight feet high, and newer ones even taller. They can be intricately carved with scenes from the Bible, the ring shape, knot work, and other embellishment. Some believe the ring refers to the halo one would see depicting deity or holiness. Some believe it is a throwback to the ancient Celtic shield. And still others think it references the sun or a celestial sphere. All agree on this—that the ring and cross construction gave the arms of the cross more stability in carving.
Thanks for having me here to visit your readers, Tabitha! I look forward to visiting and reading everyone’s comments.
So, of the three symbols of Ireland, (which again are the Gaelic Harp, the shamrock, and the Celtic Cross,) which would you guess is the official national symbol? If you guess correctly, (no cheating and looking it up, now) you’ll get an extra entry to win your own e-copy of Bachelor Buttons. I’ll be drawing a name from the commenters using random dot org so please leave a way for me to contact you if your name is chosen. Email is a great way.
Also, I am hostessing a huge Rafflecopter giveaway with another Christian historical author. Please save the link and be sure to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes starting Monday!
***Raffle copter runs from March 9-18th*** Grand prize is $50 Amazon GC, second prize is a $25 Ammy GC, third prize is an Irish goodie basket.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. The luck of the Irish be with you!
Kathleen L. Maher
“Stories where every underdog has his day.”
Kathleen L. Maher’s first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she’s loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS’ collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist’s Daughter and The Chaplain’s Daughter.
Kathleen and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with their children and a small menagerie.
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Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/KLMaherAuthor/