Irish Above All
Mary Pat Kelly
Forge, 2019 (2019)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ary Pat Kelly's
Irish Above All
continues to tell the story (started in
Of Irish Blood
) of Irish-American Nora '
' Kelly, born in Chicago. As this part of her life begins in 1923, she has just returned to her home town after spending ten years in Paris, where she learned the art of photography from a master.
he Prologue introduces the highlight of the story, an event that continues to haunt Nora afterwards. Acting as a photographer in 1933, her words '
' save the life of Franklin Roosevelt, and result in the assassin's bullet hitting (and eventually killing) the Mayor of Chicago (Anton Cermak) instead.
he story continues to balance family inter-relationships and world events (influenced in surprising ways by Norah, though she's rarely credited). Nonie's cousin Ed Kelly is closely involved in Chicago politics, so she is frequently pulled into his orbit, interacting with dignitaries, from Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor to Joseph and Jack Kennedy.
fter the beginning of World War II, Nonie accompanies Eleanor Roosevelt to northern Ireland, with a personal objective as well - to find the grave site of her beloved Peter Keeley, shot many years before. This leads to all sorts of surprising revelations and encounters - and, eventually, a happy ending for Norah Kelly.
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