Mary Jaffe (neé Scott)

Mary Jaffe (neé Scott)

- Historical Fiction Author -

Mary Quigley's Da

Mary Quigley's Da + Reading Companion Packets $40.99 $24.99 (For a limited time)

Mary Quigley's Da Companion Reading Packets

Mary Quigley's Da

Mary Quigley's Da

A personal tragedy of an Irish Immigrant caught on the Kansas-Missouri border during the Civil War + Companion Reading Packets

In 1849, half-brothers Michael and Joseph Quigley arrive with their family of ten in America seeking relief from the Irish potato famine. Their dying father tasked Michael to watch over Joe. Five of the family succumb to illness. In short time, nineteen-year-old Michael heads into the frontier with eleven-year-old Joseph. After arriving in Independence, Missouri, Joe runs away from his stone mason brother.  He spends his teen years in the wild cow town of West Bottoms, where his entrepreneurial savvy propels him into a successful business until a worldwide depression sends him scrambling.

Joe meets and marries another Irish Catholic, Mary McManus, who comes from a family of higher ilk.  The unlikely couple settles in a frontier riddled with lawless violence, which leaves them burned out by Jayhawkers.  Natural catastrophes, failed crops, Joe’s military service, and illnesses overburden them, but it is a shocking, single event that leads to the destruction of Joe’s family. 

Through the eyes of nine-year-old Little Mary Quigley—Joe and Mary’s second-born daughter—we observe the ultimate, horrific moment that leaves Mary and her five siblings orphaned.  This particular act becomes their dark family secret and leaves a lamentable legacy that has waited generations to be revealed.

Reading Companion Packets

Both packets are a companion set for a serious reader interested in understanding the history, issues and characters.

Book Club Packet

The Book Club Packet includes handouts for leaders and readers, tips on the art of asking questions, and a guided reading section with a review of the elements of literature to help readers organize and focus their thinking.  After teaching for 35 years, I know that guided reading is the most enriched. There are also suggested themes of the many possible and specific to Mary Quigley’s Da, as well as an invitation to your Club

Bibliography of Sources

Every family genealogist writing about distant ancestors knows that no story comes out of a vacuum. Without knowing national or local history, you may not know what families' lives were like before, during and after they arrived. You'll want to put "two and two together”.  The Introduction includes guidance and thoughts about revealing painful truths and family secrets. It provides warnings about research challenges in resource. The bibliography is especially important for those writing about the Irish in any century.  It includes specific and not widely-known history that explains life in New York, Missouri, or Kansas and why your Irish and German relatives went there in the mid-1800’s. It includes sources about the Civil War and the involvement of the Catholic Church that might provide clues and insights to tracking immigrant and nonimmigrant movement on the frontier.  For over a decade, I have encountered invaluable resources in research, and they are included here.

BookClubPacket
BibliographyOfSources
Mary Quigley's Da Companion Reading Packets

Reviews

Tony Espinoza
Tony Espinoza
Pacific Book Review

Mary Quigley’s Da: A Personal Tragedy of an Irish Immigrant Caught on the Kansas-Missouri Border during the Civil War

A Pacific Book Review by Tony Espinoza

In author Mary Jaffe’s historical fiction, Mary Quigley’s Da: A Personal Tragedy of an Irish Immigrant Caught on the Kansas-Missouri Border during the Civil War, the author takes some of her own personal family history and the history of our nation and develops an engaging historical fiction read like no other. Following the legacy of the
family of Irish immigrant Joseph Quigley, the author details the man’s life and the events which defined him in detail, from his family’s escaping the Potato Famine and moving to America, to his teen years in a cow town, to his military service and taking his new wife into the wild frontier.

This is a truly fascinating read. The book opens shockingly and strongly, taking the perspective of young Mary Quigley, the daughter of Joseph, who along with her siblings find themselves orphaned and their family rocked by a dark and terrible secret. Their world torn apart, the book then goes into the life of Joseph and the events leading up to that horrific moment. The blend of history along with the personal family legacy was well written throughout this book, but it was the character growth and evolution which really stood out, as the family history, culture, and dynamic really helped each character’s arc grow and showcase the downfall of this family even more. The dual nature of Joseph with his wife and children can be felt in every page, making this such an engrossing read.

This is the perfect book for those who enjoy historical fiction, in particular reads which involve immigrant families living in 19th century America, during and after the Civil War, and the concept of personal family legacy blended with historical fiction. As a fan of the genre, it was easy to get wrapped up in the narrative and the fact that part of this story is based on true events which makes this tale both sadder, yet even more thought- provoking, a true sign of a masterful historical fiction narrative.

Heartbreaking, historically driven and a lengthy read, author Mary Jaffe’s Mary
Quigley’s Da: A Personal Tragedy of an Irish Immigrant Caught on the Kansas-Missouri Border during the Civil War is a great book. Analyzing the way family legacy grows and the mystery which surrounds dark moments in a legacy, this book is the perfect blend of family drama and history.

This is a truly fascinating read. The book opens shockingly and strongly, taking the perspective of young Mary Quigley, the daughter of Joseph, who along with her siblings find themselves orphaned and their family rocked by a dark and terrible secret. Their world torn apart, the book then goes into the life of Joseph and the events leading up to that horrific moment. The blend of history along with the personal family legacy was well written throughout this book, but it was the character growth and evolution which really stood out, as the family history, culture, and dynamic really helped each character’s arc grow and showcase the downfall of this family even more. The dual nature of Joseph with his wife and children can be felt in every page, making this such an engrossing read.

This is the perfect book for those who enjoy historical fiction, in particular reads which involve immigrant families living in 19th century America, during and after the Civil War, and the concept of personal family legacy blended with historical fiction. As a fan of the genre, it was easy to get wrapped up in the narrative and the fact that part of this story is based on true events which makes this tale both sadder, yet even more thought- provoking, a true sign of a masterful historical fiction narrative.

Heartbreaking, historically driven and a lengthy read, author Mary Jaffe’s Mary

Quigley’s Da: A Personal Tragedy of an Irish Immigrant Caught on the Kansas-Missouri Border during the Civil War is a great book. Analyzing the way family legacy grows and the mystery which surrounds dark moments in a legacy, this book is the perfect blend of family drama and history.

Heather Brooks
Heather Brooks
US Review of Books

Mary Quigley’s Da: A Personal Tragedy of an Irish Immigrant Caught on the Kansas-Missouri Border During the Civil War.

Book review by Heather Brooks, US Review of Books

"Learning to kill made him less charming but more in demand… 'It’s how ye become a man to be reckoned with…'"

Margaret Quigley dies in 1849 without telling her 11-year-old son Joseph that she loves him. Although he knows her death in childbirth aboard a ship full of Irish potato famine refugees is no one's fault, he never forgives her. Thus begins Joe Quigley's lifelong propensity toward self-pity and his inability to take personal responsibility for his various failures. Charm, a beautiful singing voice, and a gift for working with horses can only advance the fortunes of a bright but unmotivated alcoholic husband and father of six so far. Acting on a promise to their dead father, Michael, Joe's older half-brother, strives to keep an eye on Joe while bringing honor to the Quigley name. He and his descendants successfully keep the second half of that promise as prosperous stonemasons and farmers. But headstrong Joe embarks on a path that may well ruin him and devastate everyone he holds dear.

Readers of this novel will know its outcome from the first page since the author explicitly states what that will be. Joe is narcissistic to his core. Yet this very weakness of his makes the altruism and resilience of the other characters inspiring and endearing. Joe's wife, Mary, and his brother Michael, in particular, propel the narrative forward as they reach for, and fulfill, the goals that drive their families to prosper in America. This is the story of the author's great-grandfather's immigration from Ireland and the tragedy he unleashed upon her other ancestors. She attempts to heal through its writing from the deep wounds he caused. Jaffe also extensively illustrates the damaging effect of the stereotype of the Irish as lazy drunks on the collective Irish psyche. The story is likely to interest anyone fascinated by the psychological impact of assimilation and family violence on first-generation Irish immigrants.

Diana Lowery
Diana Lowery
Online Book Club

The following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Mary Quigley's Da" by Mary Jaffe (nee Scott).
Official Review: Mary Quigley's Da
4 out of 4 stars 07 May 2020, 07:07

Mary Quigley's Da is a historical fiction book by Mary Jaffe (née Scott). Based on actual events that happened to the author's family, the distressing story of Joseph Quigley, Mary Quigley's father, unfolds as we follow him on his travels from Ireland to New York City and his inevitable death in Kansas.

Joseph Quigley is the protagonist and the antagonist. The book starts with his death then flashes back to his childhood in Ireland and his horrific journey to America. The voyage on the Wave, the ship that brought the family of seven to Staten Island, is vividly described. We watch as two family members die on board, and two others die shortly after landing. Joseph's life in America gets off to a rough start and gets even rougher. His chronological age is 13, but he considers himself a full-grown man. As we follow his life, it becomes clear how and why it ended the way it did. Understanding the tragedies Joseph endured makes it easier to forgive him. Knowing the circumstances of his relationship with Michael, his step-brother, makes the situation even more heartbreaking. Your heart will break often. Jaffe's carefully chosen words evoke emotion on every page. She is careful to add enough historical information to create authenticity without losing the connection to the characters.

A large part of the narrative is told through the eyes of young Mary Quigley, Joseph’s daughter. I have read other stories of homesteaders trying to survive on the prairie, but this family has more than their share of woes. Besides the plague of locusts, the drought, and the war, they are poor Irish immigrants. They are members of a lower class and discriminated against. Then there is the issue of Joseph being troubled with the “Irish Curse” of alcoholism. Young Mary watches her father’s drunken rages and her mother’s efforts to keep the family fed and housed. The well-researched details of farming practices and cultural events are interesting and informative. I had a hard time connecting to Mary, Joseph's wife. She was stubborn and independent at times, and she was submissive and pathetic at others. A quote toward the end of the book helps to explain her behavior. "Mary's faith kept her bound to Joseph more than her love for him did." Faith in the church, in family, and Ireland is a strong theme. Everyone hung on to their beliefs because that was often all they had.

When I first started to read Mary Quigley's Da, I was annoyed because the author chose to start the book with the ending. After reading several chapters, I was convinced that Jaffe knew what she was doing. I was first drawn to the book because I am familiar with Cass County, Missouri. I soon realized that other settings were familiar to me. Having been on Ellis Island and toured the immigration building there, it was easy to visualize the family's arrival in America. Of course, my Irish roots were awakened, and I have vowed to learn more about my own ancestors' experiences when they came to America during the potato famine era. I especially liked how the author was able to capture the Irish dialect without making it too difficult to understand. You can hear the brogue with all its lifts and melodic nuances.

Reading this book requires concentration, but it is worth it. Keeping track of all the relatives who had the same names was difficult. There are multiple Marys and Josephs. Paying attention to the dates and locations on the chapter headings is vital. The plot has many flashbacks. The story begins in 1877 with Joseph's death. Chapters two through five cover Joseph's time during the Civil War starting in 1862. Chapter Six jumps back to 1849 as Joseph shares his story with a fellow soldier.

Mary Quigley's Da: A Personal Tragedy of An Irish Immigrant Caught on the Kansas-Missouri Border During the Civil War is well-edited and does not contain any offensive language or erotic content. There are scenes of death and violence that might limit the audience. Historical fiction fans who enjoy an honest, revealing story that starts at the end will love this book. Because there was nothing in this book to dislike, I rate it 4 out of 4.

https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142668

Mary Jaffe (neé Scott)

Mary Jaffe (neé Scott)

Mary Jaffe (neé Scott) dreamed of becoming a National Geographic journalist, but it was a dream unrealized--even though she spent her entire eighth grade summer sleeping outdoors along a river, in the woods with the bears, in a barn, in lightening storms, etc. to determine if she was made of the right stuff.

Now, at age seventy-five--after thirty-five years of teaching elementary, adolescent and prison inmate students; raising her family as a single mother; singing professional opera; and caring for her beloved terminally ill husband for more than a decade--she has turned to writing historical fiction.

She successfully completed a six-generation genealogy of her father’s Scott family from Robert Scott, Lord of Arras of the last Scottish Parliament to his most recent descendant born in the 1870’s. She gutted a cargo van, converted it to a camper (learning from the “University of YouTube”), and travelled from her home in Washington to Bucks Co., Pennsylvania to follow the migration of those descendants.

Mary Quigley’s Da took many years of research. Now she is working on a set of novelettes set in 1600 Ireland. She plans to shortly begin work on a story about her children’s 3rd great grandmother who, post Civil War, sued her master’s estate to gain ownership of his Texas plantation from his brother. All of her stories are based on her or her children’s ancestors’ lives.

Stay tuned!

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