Unequal By Birth is a story about the fight for recognition and equality. Primarily, it is Molly Flynn’s struggle, as a young woman in the 1860s, to be taken seriously in running a large farm. However, with a farmhand called Ben playing a key role, it is also about the attitude to the black American population at that time.
The strapline for the book is ‘How far will Daniel and Molly go to fight injustice, and is it a price worth paying?’ I won’t tell you too much of the story as I don’t want to spoil it, but part of the land that Molly now owns used to belong to the Reese family. The Reese brothers are good-for-nothing wasters, who spend most of their time in Marsh’s bar. It was their father who lost the land to the bank for much the same behaviour as his sons. It was Molly’s guardian who bought it and then passed it to Molly. The Reese brothers start a campaign to destroy Molly’s farm and the book tells of how Molly and Daniel face what happens.
Unequal By Birth is the next in the Tales of Flynn and Reilly series and whilst readers may want to learn how Molly comes to be in Pierceton in the first place, reading the previous ones in the series is not essential to enjoy this story.
The original idea for the first book in the series came from a chance comment I heard about Charles Loring Brace and the Orphan Train movement. New York Orphan was always intended to be a one-off book. It was when my proofreader said, ‘I can’t wait to read the next one’ that I started thinking about the possibility of a series. I had grown really close to the characters and could really see their potential, almost as though they were real people, but I hadn’t intended to take it any further at that stage.
I was out walking the dogs that afternoon when a thought struck me. I did know where the story went next. I could see it all very clearly. Although I started writing Unequal By Birth immediately, I took some time out to go back and write a prequel to New York Orphan, which is available as a free download. That one is called The Blight and the Blarney and tells the story of how the main character from New York Orphan, Daniel Flynn, came to arrive in America in the first place.
It means that what was intended to be one book about these wonderful characters has already become three and the next one is already in the process of being written.
There are three main characters to the story. Each one will be the lead character in a different one of the books. New York Orphan essentially told Daniel’s story, from arriving on the dock of New York as an orphan to his early adult years. I’m not giving away too many secrets when I tell you that Unequal By Birth starts with him side by side with Molly, who is the main character for this book, working on Cochrane’s Farm. The next one will focus on Molly’s brother, William, and his fight for justice in the fields of law and politics.
Molly, who takes centre stage in this one, is loving, loyal, hard working and feisty, but with a gentle nature that makes her easy to warm to. If I were her guardian, Miss Ellie (and in many ways I probably am, as there’s much of Miss Ellie’s character that reminds me of me), I’d be incredibly proud to call Molly my ward, my daughter, however a guardian chooses to describe their charge. I hope that all of that will come across to the reader too.
I always hope that my stories will evoke an emotional response from the reader and, as with New York Orphan, it is wise to have a box of tissues to hand when you read this one.
Extract from the Book
As Molly paused, apparently ready to continue to berate his tardiness with the books, a scratching at the door caused them both to turn.
“Daphne? Gerty?” Daniel pushed his feet into his boots and opened the door to find, as he thought, the chickens strutting up and down the yard, pecking amongst the dust for any imagined nourishment.
“Oh my!” Molly jumped from her chair. “What are the chickens doing out? They should be safely away in the hen house. I’m quite certain I closed the coop after I fed them.”
Daniel stayed her arm as she reached the door. “You rest a while. I’ll go.”
Molly bristled beneath his touch. “You think I’m becoming as chicken-brained as Daphne, like any other woman with child might.”
Molly flushed, whether through annoyance or embarrassment, Daniel could not tell. He’d heard talk of how her condition might affect a woman, but he hadn’t been about to suggest that now. “I just meant you need to rest, for young Michael’s sake.”
“Oh, will you just stop with the Michael thing? I know I closed the coop. I’m going to get our hens in before darkness starts to fall.” And before Daniel could say another word, Molly marched past him into the yard.
He shook his head and followed. It would not be like Molly to leave the hen house open. He knew that. Pregnant or not, she was meticulous in her farm work. He went around the other side of the yard, driving the chickens ahead of him back in the direction of the coop. It would be dangerous for them to be out as evening fell. With foxes and coyotes about anything could happen. Quite apart from that, it was harder to find their eggs whenever they chose to lay them around the yard. He was looking down as he walked, carefully watching to ensure none of the hens doubled back and, at the same time, trying to count them as he went. He heard a shriek from Molly.
The noise was followed by the booming sound of Molly’s voice at full, but controlled, volume, “Jacob Reese! Reuben Reese! Never mind your poor mama, you might be a good deal older than me, but if I prove this was you, it will be me who tans your backsides.”
When Daniel caught up with his wife, she was holding aloft one of their chickens, its neck broken and the head hanging limply down.
“It might have been an accident. There’s many a hen has got her head trapped…”
“This! This was no accident, Daniel Flynn. This was those Reese boys again. Same as the hole in the bucket was the Reese boys and the well cover was the Reese boys. Miss Ellie bought their daddy’s land fair and square and now they don’t like that it’s me who’s farming it. They wouldn’t do anything while it was Miss Ellie here, except for name calling, but that didn’t get them far and neither will this.” She whirled around as she said that last part as if declaiming it to the brothers, wherever they were at that moment.
In truth, Daniel knew which place they were likely to be right then. The same place they spent most every evening and many days besides, with a pitcher of beer for company.
He took the dead chicken from his wife’s shaking hand, as, with the other hand she wiped a tear away from her eye.
“Now will you just look at that. I must have got some dust in my eyes as I came across the yard.” She sniffed, took a deep breath and marched across to the coop rounding up the remaining chickens as she went.
Unequal By Birth – Blurb
1866 – Daniel Flynn and Molly Reilly’s lives have been dogged by hardship since their orphan days on the streets of New York. Finally, the future is looking bright and Indiana is the place they call home. Now they can focus on making Cochrane’s Farm a success.
The Civil War might have ended but the battle for Cochrane’s Farm has only just begun. The Reese brothers are incensed that land, once part of their family farm, has been transferred to the ownership of young Molly. No matter that their Daddy had sold it years previously, jealousy and revenge have no regard for right. Women should know their place and this one clearly doesn’t.
Times are changing and a woman’s place is changing with it. How far will Daniel and Molly go to fight injustice and is it a price worth paying?
Rosemary J. Kind
Rosemary J Kind writes because she has to. You could take almost anything away from her except her pen and paper. Failing to stop after the book that everyone has in them, she has gone on to publish books in both non-fiction and fiction, the latter including novels, humour, short stories and poetry. She also regularly produces magazine articles in a number of areas and writes regularly for the dog press.
As a child she was desolate when at the age of 10 her then teacher would not believe that her poem based on ‘Stig of the Dump’ was her own work and she stopped writing poetry for several years as a result. She was persuaded to continue by the invitation to earn a little extra pocket money by ‘assisting’ others to produce the required poems for English homework!
Always one to spot an opportunity, she started school newspapers and went on to begin providing paid copy to her local newspaper at the age of 16.
For twenty years she followed a traditional business career, before seeing the error of her ways and leaving it all behind to pursue her writing full-time.
She spends her life discussing her plots with the characters in her head and her faithful dogs, who always put the opposing arguments when there are choices to be made.
Always willing to take on challenges that sensible people regard as impossible, she established and ran the short story download site Alfie Dog Fiction for six years building it to become one of the largest in the world, representing over 300 authors and carrying over 1600 short stories. She closed it in order to focus on her own writing.
Her hobby is developing the Entlebucher Mountain Dog in the UK and when she brought her beloved Alfie back from Belgium he was only the tenth in the country.
She started writing Alfie’s Diary as an Internet blog the day Alfie arrived to live with her, intending to continue for a year or two. Thirteen years later it goes from strength to strength and has been repeatedly named as one of the top ten pet blogs in the UK.
Buy Link: https://books2read.com/NewYorkOrphan
Buy Link for Unequal By Birth