Local writer Ann Murtagh’s latest novel will have a virtual book launch this Saturday.
Ann, a former teacher at Kilkenny School Project, ventured into the world of children’s books last year. The Irish War of Independence provided the backdrop for her debut novel, The Sound of Freedom, a story which was set on a farm in Westmeath.
For her second book, also published by The O’Brien Press, Ann has left rural life for North Inner-City Dublin. The Kidds of Summerhill is set in the closing months of the Second World War.
Orphaned Nancy Kidd is now head of her family. She and her brothers and sister are in danger of being sent to industrial schools.
The ‘Cruelty Men’ have the power to do this to the family, and their next-door neighbour is one of their spies. Will Nancy be able to keep her family together?
As her life begins to unravel, she meets Karla, a Jewish refugee. Karla had left Prague for London in 1939. She was part of a ‘Kinderstransport’ organised by English man Nicholas Winton to save Jewish children following the German invasion of Czechoslovakia.
When London is being evacuated, she comes to Dublin and becomes friends with Nancy in the clothing factory where they both work. Karla might know a way to provide the help Nancy so desperately needs.
Rags to Riches
The inspiration for writing this novel came from a visit by the author to 14 Henrietta Street. This museum tells the riches to rags story of the grand Georgian buildings in Dublin transforming into squalid tenements of the poor over time.
Despite all the hardship suffered by the people of Summerhill, there was a strong community spirit - a determination to get through the tough times and be there for each other. Families were still able to laugh, enjoy themselves, have fun and play pranks. The author tapped into the essence of that spirit for her story.
According to children’s book advocate and author Sarah Webb, Ann's books are perfect for fans of Marita Conlon McKenna. The Kidds of Summerhill is available to order online from The Book Centre www.thebookcentre.ie and Khan’s Books www.khansbooks.ie
All are welcome to the virtual book launch on Saturday at 4pm.
People can register for the launch at www.eventbrite.ie
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