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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In The Girl Who Was Me Is Gone by Michael Brown, the year is 1649 and Oliver Cromwell's merciless army has descended on Ireland, massacring people along their way. Meanwhile, in Dublin, young heiress Nora dreams of a future full of adventure. As the army arrives in Dublin, Nora and her family plan their escape but the arrival of the plague and a savage fight with an army captain result in Nora and her friend Anne running for their lives. With the army captain left physically scarred, he swears revenge. As the two girls manage to escape from Ireland on a frigate called the Good Hope headed for Virginia, Nora plans to claim her inheritance. Onboard the frigate they discover the ship holds a cruel secret and they experience their worst fears. When they arrive in Virginia, they discover their nightmare is only just beginning and are soon separated. As Nora's future looks bleak and hopeless, her childhood sweetheart risks everything to save her, just as the army captain arrives in Virginia.
It is not often that the subject matter of a novel touches your heart and soul but the heartbreaking story of Nora does. Each one of the characters has been carefully created, with the utmost consideration given to their unique personalities. The descriptive narrative sparked my imagination and I found myself walking in Nora's shoes. A young brave teenager facing the brutality of an invading army. The scenes she had witnessed and the situations she suffered were barbarous. The subject matter was clearly well researched and the fact that the Irish people suffered so much under the rule of Cromwell, and the battles with the Native Americans will surprise many. The scene in the slave market in Virginia was hard to read because the author relayed the emotions of the terrified Irish people superbly. I did not know that the first slaves in the American colonies were white and I was astounded to read this. I wonder how many people actually know this fact. The conflicts throughout and the tension were so perfectly placed, I could not put this book down until the end. Although The Girl Who Was Me Is Gone by Michael Brown is a work of fiction, it should be a testament to how people can be complacent with acts of brutality and injustice on others. The ending was flawless and the perfect closure to a nail-biting final third of the book and I look forward to more from these amazing characters.