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by Mary Tilberg


ISBN: 9781897151181

Format: Trade Paperback
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"

Price: $21.00


Publication Date: February 1, 2009



In 1831, eighteen-year-old Oonagh Corcoran emigrates with her sister from southern Ireland to Upper Canada. In the deep folds of cool, green forest off the vast inland sea of Lake Ontario, she believes she has found paradise — only to discover that the New World harbours its own horrible injustices when she meets a fugitive slave from Virginia named Chauncey Taylor. Love grows between them as Chauncey slowly reveals his terrible past to Oonagh, reliving the pain and tragedy he and his family suffered as slaves. The two find that even in their small, accepting community, there are certain lines that can never be crossed.

Based on historical research, Oonagh is both a powerful love story and a gripping tale that reaches deep into the secret heart of our nation’s past.


FIC019000 FICTION / Literary

FIC014000 FICTION / Historical


“The climax is unflinching, perectly set up and extremely moving. The suffering of the world, and the light of the world, are beautifully entwined in this book.”
The Globe and Mail

“A biracial love story in Upper Canada in the 1830s might not normally attract B.C. readers, but take it from me: There’s a wealth of understanding and thoughtfulness here, as well as crystalline prose.”
Vancouver Sun

Oonagh is a sensitively written novel by a storyteller with a tale to tell … As good as historical fiction can be, Oonagh is, like Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, a welcome contriution when Black History Month rolls around again.”
The Sun Times

“Fact is interwoven so well into the more whimsical elements that it all reads seamlessly.”
Literary Review of Canada

“A compelling tale … From the opening chapter to the heartbreaking conclusion, the story moves with wonderful pace, never pausing to take a breath. This is one of those rare books that effortlessly transports the reader – sights, sounds, smells and all – to an important time in the history of Canada.”

“Mary Tilberg powerfully imagines a story for a remarkable couple who are mentioned in passing by Susanna Moodie, but otherwise completely forgotten — till now. As an act of narrative resurrection, Oonagh is both gripping and moving.”
— Steven Heighton, author of The Shadow Boxer

“Beautifully written by this masterful storyteller, Oonagh draws us into a story of race and class, joy and sorrow, fear and newfound freedom writ large. The tale of Chauncey Taylor’s flight to freedom, his success in his barbering business in Upper Canada, and his love for his sharp-tongued Irish lass are painted with a fine hand, as are the underlying tensions of race and class that threaten their union.”
—Karolyn Smardz Frost, author of I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land

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