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The Magdalen Girls
by V. S. Alexander


Overview - Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city's Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are -fallen- women--unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals.  Read more...

 
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More About The Magdalen Girls by V. S. Alexander
 
 
 
Overview
Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city's Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are -fallen- women--unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.
Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments--but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure--and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.
Told with candor, compassion, and vivid historical detail, The Magdalen Girls is a masterfully written novel of life within the era's notorious institutions--and an inspiring story of friendship, hope, and unyielding courage.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781496706126
  • ISBN-10: 1496706129
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publish Date: December 2016
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Coming of Age

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-10-31
  • Reviewer: Staff

Set in early 1960s Dublin, Alexanders first novel chronicles the lives of three teenagers who are sent to live indefinitely as penitents under the watch of occasionally sadistic Catholic nuns. After a minor flirtation with a priest, 16-year-old Tegan finds herself sentenced to a life mostly in silence with meager food and an enormous workload as a laundress. Shes joined shortly by loud, hotheaded Nora, who takes a shine to her. The girls make a pact to look out for each other. They form a trio with vulnerable, quiet former farm girl Lea, who appears to have inherited a gift for clairvoyance from her mother. Both Tegan and Nora make ill-fated attempts to escape, while Lea has largely resigned herself to her fate. The convents brutal Mother Superior, Sister Anne, cuts herself occasionally and harbors a dark secret. Sister Anne devises barbaric punishments for her wards under the guise of caring for their spiritual salvation: among other things, penitents are made to hold their hands over the flame of a candle to experience hellfire. The Magdalen laundries where Tegan works were infamous for their severe conditions and the inhuman way their girls were treated, but Alexander explains away Sister Annes hardness with a backstory that ends up undercutting the ubiquitous cruelty of these institutions. (Jan.)

 
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