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Midnight Fires: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft    by Nancy Means Wright order for
Midnight Fires
by Nancy Means Wright
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Not to be confused with her daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, the protagonist of Midnight Fires takes the reader back to 1786 when she accepts the position of governess to a passel of children in Mitchelstown Castle, County Cork, Ireland.

Mary has come down in the world (she is a soon-to-be published author who is forced to take up this position to support her siblings). Children are not high on her priority list although her book is about educating children. However, she soon befriends Margaret, the eldest of the notorious Anglo-Irish Kingsborough family.

Between them, they have some adventures such as helping a prisoner escape from the local jail. Several murders occur which devastate the occupants of the castle. The mystery is a captivating one, weaving around the characters involved. We get a taste of the Irish feelings for their invaders, the English. Needless to say, they are not welcome on Irish soil.

The standard of living in the late 1700s did not provide an easy life, at least for the servant class. The ruling class, mostly English, seemed impervious to the hardships the Irish endured. As always, there are conspirators determined to overthrow the English and chase them from Irish shores.

Mary is a likeable character as full of flaws as good works. Though several characters I assumed were necessary to the story seemed rather vague, that does little to lessen the reader's enjoyment. It was easy to become embroiled in Midnight Fires and be sorry when the last page was turned.

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