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Released: October 2015
ISBN: 9781311528575
Kindle US, Amazon UK
Apple, Kobo, Nook

Print Released: September 2017
ISBN: 9781910234297
Amazon US, Amazon UK

Series: Druid's Brooch Series, #1
Author: Christy Nicholas
Length: Full Length
Genre: Historical Fiction
Digital Price: free
Print Price: $10.99

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Goodreads


First place winner
Historical Fiction

2016 East Texas Writer's Guild
Book Awards


Ireland is no promised land in 1846. It is wracked by a crippling potato blight, and people are dying. But Valentia McDowell doesn’t know that. 

From her father’s prosperous farm in Ohio, young Valentia is haunted by tales of an abandoned family and a lost heirloom. She travels to her grandmother’s homeland with her brother, Conor, and two servants, to find both. Her delight in the exciting journey on one of the first steam ships to cross the Atlantic is shattered by a horrible tragedy. 

What she encounters upon her arrival in Ireland is both more and less than she had hoped. Valentia finds both enemies and allies, amid horrors and delights, and a small bit of magic. She finds a richer heritage than she had ever imagined, but it comes with a price. 

When she finally reaches her goal, a terrible price is demanded. She must pay or forfeit, and both decisions have strong consequences for her and her friends.

Listen to the author read chapter one

The Quest

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
April 1846

Grandmamma’s brooch haunted Valentia’s dreams.

Even as she relaxed at afternoon tea with her mother, the lace doily reminded her of the delicate intertwining design of the brooch. That, in turn, reminded her of the task she had fixed her mind upon.

She was tired of always settling for the smallest bits of the good things in life. Perhaps it was time to take larger chunks.

Valentia’s corset pinched as she leaned towards the tea tray, reaching for a large cake on the upper tier.

“Control yourself, Valentia, or you’ll end up looking like one of those Pittsburgh steel workers.” Majesta McDowell was always aware of appearances. From the servant’s area, one of the maids sniggered.

Grimacing at her mother, Valentia reached for a much smaller piece when she heard shouts, but not the normal sound of a foreman yelling at his workers.

It sounded like panic.

Several patrons stood to look out the plate glass window of the café. Though she was tall for a woman, all Valentia could see were the backs of strangers, and occasionally someone running in the street.

A sharp crack accompanied a muffled explosion. Clouds of dust billowed, and Valentia fought her rising dread.

People in the café jammed the door, trying to escape.

Valentia, her mother, and their maids, Sarah and Maggie, pushed out of the stifling building. Panicked voices screamed amid crashes, all from a street not far away, in the direction of the Monongahela House Hotel.

Where they had been staying.

Her mind raced in panic, her stomach tied in a knot. Trying to make sense of the chaos, she looked the maids and her mother. She was transfixed, staring at the looming threat.

A menacing column of black, oily smoke billowed from the riverside, a searing blanket of menace. The smell of burning wood filled the air.

A church bell tolled. She suppressed her terror and took charge.

“Mother, this way!” Valentia tugged on her mother’s arm to break the spell she was under, pulling her away from the hotel.

Majesta McDowell didn’t have long legs, nor did either of their maids. Still, they made decent time down the cobblestoned street. Faster runners jostled and shoved past the cluster of women in their panicked flight.

Fleeing from the smoke and commotion, the heel of Valentia’s fashionable boot struck a cobblestone at an odd angle as they ran. A sharp pain pierced her ankle.
Valentia nearly collided with a young man who was unloading kegs in front of a pub. She tripped over the dolly, and tumbled to the ground, scraping her knees and hands, but she managed to get up and run again. Belatedly, she made sure her flock still followed.

Where to go? Where were her father and brother supposed to be this morning? Down at the docks. The men would be able to get to safety by jumping in the water, if nothing else. The women were too far from the rivers to use that option.

Panting, they halted many blocks away. Shoving down her fear, Valentia glanced up. The plume of smoke was farther away, much less threatening, so she felt they could continue at a less frantic pace. People here hadn’t even noticed the fire yet. She had absolutely no idea of where they were.

“Mother, if we can find a river it might be the safest place to wait. How can we find father and Conor?”

Majesta was still panting, and Valentia realized she had set a brutal pace.

“I don’t believe we can… unless we go back… to the hotel. Blast! They will… have to assume we’ve made it… to safety.”

They passed a post office and brought the postman outside, pointing to the widening column of smoke. The alarm grew around them, the panic spreading. The postman rushed back into the shop and came out with a whistle. He blew it at set intervals, apparently a pre-arranged signal.

A carriage came barreling down the narrow street, and Valentia yanked Maggie up against the shop.

Her mother’s maid, Sarah, wasn’t quick enough. A blow knocked her to the cobblestones. She lay perfectly still.

With a scream, her mother moved to Sarah’s side, and pulled her out of the busy street by the shoulders. Valentia grabbed the woman’s feet, and they moved her to the wide sidewalk. The postman knelt by them and checked her breathing while Majesta quietly sobbed.

“She’s breathing, Mistress. I’ll go fetch a doctor. You just wait here, eh?”

Valentia nodded, trying to clean the worst of the dirty smudges from the maid’s face.

“Wake up, Sarah. Wake up!” Majesta shook her shoulders.

Top Reviews
. . . this story literally sings and likely will be a book to which the reader will return often to capture the magic Christy has woven. ~ Grady Harp, Amazon Vine Voice

• • •

If you like historical romance, this is a great read.
If you like historical romance, this is a great read. The characters were believable and likeable. You could tell the author put a lot of time into research and really wanted to portray the period, people and culture accurately. I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to reading more from this author. ~ Melissa Price, Amazon

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Compelling Storytelling Kept Me Hooked
what kept me reading was the characters and their relationships. The everyday details of the journey kept me returning to the book day after day to find out more, even when the plot was not in a place of immediate peril. That's the sign of good writing. I enjoyed it from beginning. ~ Sheri J Kennedy, Amazon

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I felt like I was right there with Valentia, feeling the pain and and despair of the local people. I could feel her frustration of not being able to help like she wanted to due to politics and those in power refusing to be held accountable for the situation. It is an all too common problem when power and the almighty dollar means more than the lives of the common people. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. ~ Laurie P, Amazon

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A Surprisingly Refreshing Story
By the first chapter, I was intrigued. I didn't need time adjusting to the writing or anything of the sort, it was quite similar to love at first sight. I didn't want to build my expectations too high, but I was hoping that this particular story would be mesmerizing throughout. I was not disappointed. From the very first page, to the very last, I was sold. This book is a winner. Valentia's growth as a character was so subtle and clever, the effect didn't even completely make an impact on me until the last chapter. When it did, I had to take a moment and congratulate the author, Christy Nicholas, in my head for a job well done. Ms Nicholas' research for this book was very impressive. The amount of detail and love she put into her story is noticeable and very honorable. Positive praise for The Legacy of Hunger must be noted, because it is well deserved. ~ The Literary Connoisseur, Amazon

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A journey into history
This historical adventure is populated with (sometimes) danger, romance of a sort, obsession, and a dollop of that special brand of Irish magic and mysticism. The original quest although passionately pursued is to some extent supplanted by the plight of the people. The story takes place during the horror of the potato famine. The real story does not begin until after her sea voyage to Ireland -- a ways into the novel. I found this prelude to be interesting, and it helped define the protagonist and the times.The author goes into a goodly amount of detail about the culture and attitudes and the people. To me, this added flavor not distraction. I understand others may think otherwise. The story is in its detail. Characters are well defined and convincing. ~ Robert Krueger, Amazon

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This novel is well researched and filled with considerable historical insight, local color, and information about Ireland during this traumatic period in its history. The tone of the book is in keeping with the era it refers to and a lot of thought and effort was definitely put into the writing and editing of the story. I have to say that I never really warmed up to Valentia and felt that the rather abrupt ending of the book left me wondering a great deal about her and what, if anything, happened in her life to validate the many losses experienced during her quest. Perhaps this will be revealed in future books of the series. ~ Cathy Geha, Goodreads

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Well Done Period Work
The level of painstaking research and authentic detail that Christy Nicholas put into this novel is worthy of standing ovation alone. She dauntlessly endeavored to create picture of our world in the mid 1800’s that felt genuine and real without seeming foreign, untreatable or overwhelming. Her characters are each well framed and have their own unique sense of depth. It is easy to root for her protagonists while still viewing them as legitimate people with very realistic flaws and shortcomings. The pacing is strong for a drama. While it may not be permeated with the nonstop pulse pounding of an action genre piece the reading is no less engaging. Even if you are not a fan of historical fiction this is a book that will reward readers that decide to step outside of their comfort zone. ~ Jason Pere, Amazon

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This book is based in old Ireland during a troubled time. The author did an amazing job of making you understand and feel just how things were back then . . . It was very apparent the author did a lot of research and knew what she wrote about . . . It is well written and well researched. ~ Dee Johnston, Amazon



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