Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

As you know, I am behind in my Book Club Pick reviews-but I am trying to catch up.

Eventually I will get them all done.

Haha…sure

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time it was my turn and I chose:

Far Side of the Sea (California Rising #2) by Paula Scott

So I had first been introduced to this book when I worked at our local museum. I actaully got to meet the author and speak to her, and after hearing about how she researched and just listening to how she spoke about her work I  decided to borrow the book from the library and read: Until the Day Breaks.

This book came out and my coworker said she enjoyed, so I purchased a copy for a friend. A couple weeks later I was at work and realized, I had forgot to bring a book to pass the time when we had no one visiting the museum.

That is not good,

Yes, I always brought a book or two to read in the downtime, as sometimes we had a lot of people visiting, and other times we only had a few. This week there was a special event happening in the area so I knew we weren’t going to have a lot of people, it would be the perfect time to read.

But this time I had forgotten my book! I was looking at four very quiet and boring hours.

As I started tidying up the gift shop, wondering what I was going to do with my time, I spotted the Far Side of the Sea and bought it.

I quickly devoured it, and then a year later in book club I decided it would be great to read this series. So we read the first book, then Wuthering Heights, and Desperate Pastor’s Wives; and before you know it, it was my turn again to pick.

Months had gone by since we had read the first book, and while I had really wanted to read the second book, I also really wanted to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I thought afterwards we could all watch the movie together.

Yes!

But at the time I was going to this divorce class/support group and the day I had to choose our book, my reading for the class was Psalm 139, where this title comes from.

So I knew, we had to read it.

I gotcha!

Until the Day Breaks, we had protestant Rachel Tyler coming to California, where her father has brokered a marriage between her and a member of a very old and important Californio family, Roman Vasquez. The two do not know each, and neither is sure of the marriage, but before anything can immediately be done-California independence and the Bear Flag Revolt breaks out. There is romance, war, and fantastic characters. To read more, click here.

At the end of the first book, Rachel and Roman left to Monterey, where they are married. We begin book two with Rachel’s awful father, Joshua Tyler, returning from the revolt and finding his new wife Sarita and child dead and buried, Rachel gone, and becomes very angry. With the war-he had decided to marry Rachel off to someone else, but as now he does not have that, or his wife, he uses the heavy debts of the Vasquez family to blackmail the patriarch into giving him Roman’s sister, Maria Vasquez, to marry.

Roman’s sister Maria, is a beautiful and fiery redhead. She has been riding horses since a child, has gone on grizzly bear hunts, loves to dance, and is stubborn, passionate, and extremely strong-willed. She does not want to marry Joshua Tyler, but as her uncle controls her fate she has to.

Maria is haughty and angry, which just fuels Joshua Tyler on more. When they reach Monterey, they search for the priest to marry them, but he cannot be found (he had married Rachel and Roman and left to celebrate with them.) Joshua doesn’t care and decides to take Maria as his own, raping her.

Maria tries to get free, but Joshua is too strong, she does manage to grab a knife from him while he is distracted by her and stabs him-murdering a man, a hanging offense.

That is not good,

For Maria, this is something that should never have happened to her. Being raised as one of the gente de razon, she was always treated respectfully, kindly, etc. She feels dirty, scared, alone-and then she remembers something from long ago. When Maria’s mother was ill, she came into the room with a special feather, and at that same exact moment her mother died. One of her mother’s Indian slaves said that she was cursed with the mark of death and will bring death wherever she goes.

Death walks into the room…

Maria goes from the priest’s room into the church, feeling dirty, ashamed, and alone. No loner a virgin, no longer worth anything, and what will she do now? She can’t stay her and she can’t go back home.

One of Joshua’s mercenaries, Gavilan, decides to help her and the two disguise her as a boy and sign up to be deckhands on a ship headed to Boston. On the way they will pass through Chile, an Gavilan’s home, and they can stay there.

They are on the ship with they realize that the Captain is none other than Dominic Mason. In the last book, Dominic was bringing Rachel’s fiancé Steven from Boston to come after her. Steven lead him to the Lord and they became fast friends. When they reached California, the two quickly bonded with Roman as well. Maria fell in love with Dominic from that first moment she saw him, and he was incredibly attracted to her. Maria decided he was going to be her first kiss, and after she got it from him, he told her he was engaged already back home.

Maria tries to hide from Dominic, and while at first he doesn’t recognize her, eventually her secret comes out. Gavilan and Dominic become friends, although both have a deep interest in Maria. Maria wants Dominic, but as much as he wants her-he is engaged and must do his duty to Sally, his fiancé.

When they reach Argentina, they discover that Gavilan belongs to a wealthy family-but they do not want to stay there. The people are all about pleasure, Gavilan’s sister-in-law hitting on every man. Also there is a dreaded ghost from Dominic’s past, the evil, cruel, dreaded Captain Wade.

Ugh!!

Captain Wade was Dominic’s first Captain, and after seeing all the atrocities that he did, Dominic tried to leave as soon as he could and get his own boat. Now does he tell Maria-the most beautiful woman in the world and Captain Wade’s new interest all about this? No, he just tells her to stay away. And of course the fiery, stubborn, Maria does not like being told what to do.

From there they go East to Boston. Maria stays with Dominic’s family and faces not only an incredible culture shock being in Protestant East, but snubs and prejudice from being Latina and Catholic. Dominic’s father and sister try to treat her like family-but Dominic’s mother remembers the Catholic’s treatment of Protestants back in Ireland.

Dominic and Sally plan their wedding, and its decided to be sooner rather than later. Dominic still has feelings for Maria, head over heels in love-but Sally-loyal, dependable, sweet, and caring; has waited all these years for him.

Also reading this again, I felt that there was a strong undercurrent here of interesting class distinction. Sally’s father owns the ships Dominic captains, while Dominic’s father is a dockworker. Makes you wonder if marrying Sally had a little extra pressure…

Hmm…

Anyways, the wedding comes, and Maria is heartbroken. Dominic returns to his ships, Sally to their beautiful new house, and Maria is stuck in the frozen Boston and dreary Mason house.

Sally gets pregnant, and the pregnancy really treats her body rough. She calls in Maria to help her. No one else likes Maria-for being what she is, and Dominic’s mom senses the attraction, and all treat her bad-Maria not helping with the situation.

But not Sally. Sally loves Maria and encourages, supports, leads, and is there for her. She reads the bible with her, teaches her about God, and just gives her friendship. She gives her the titler psalm and becomes such a calming and sweet presence for her. Maria helps her with the pregnancy, along with taking care of baby Dominic “Nicky”.

When Dominic arrives, Nicky is 2 and Maria is the nanny. Sally has never recovered from her pregnancy and is not strong enough to care for Nicky on her own.

Dominic has made enough money that he has left his old business, struck out on his own, and is moving the family to San Francisco. He wants to take Maria back to her brother-but Sally won’t let her go. Sally is Maria’s best friend, and after she gets pregnant, does not want Maria to go. Dominic sets sail, taking his younger sister Chloe, hoping that she will take over Maria’s duties instead.

Unfortunately, delicate Sally does not survive the second child, and passes away. Maria tries to save the newborn, named after her, but she dies as well. Maria once again feels that she is carrying death to those she cares for.

Nooooooooooooooo

Maria finally makes it back to her brother. Roman lost the ranch as the Californios could not keep their property when California became a state, but Rachel inherited her father’s estate. They stay there for a while, Dominic realizing that he still is hopelessly in love with Maria and asks to marry her.

Maria agrees until Dominic is almost killed. She starts hearing voices telling her of death, and that she needs to leave him alone-go far away in order to protect him.

She returns to San Francisco and to Captain Wade. He turns out to be more than she bargained for-an abusive, cruel, demonic filled man. Will Maria die in this hell on Earth, or will she finally hear God’s voice and freedom?

I LOOOOOOOOOVED it!!! I really enjoyed the first book, but I found this one compelling. When I read the book the first time I couldn’t stop-page after page after page just whizzed past as I needed to find out what happened next.

Each time I have read it, that desire has not waned.

Of course reading the book after being in an abusive relationship, made the book just soooo relatable. It was powerful how she described how Maria was feeling, the hopelessness, wanting life to be over, the fear, feeling trapped, unsure of what to do…she just captured it.

There is a powerful scene when Captain Wade is attacking Maria and she starts praying and pulls out the gold crucifix, which stops the Captain Wade from doing anything further. This stuck such a cord with me as the last time I was with my ex-husband we were in the car together and he starts speeding down the freeway, in and out of lanes telling me that he is going to kill us both as he would rather have me dead then be apart from him. All I could do was pray and pray that God would save me-and my ex-husband stopped and I was able to get away. Thank God for that. The day I was legally divorced I heard on the radio the same thing happened to another woman, but she wasn’t as lucky-he crashed the car and killed her.

A powerful book that I strongly recommend.

For more book club books, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

For more by Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more bible verses, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

So as you all know I started a book club last year. Because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I picked:

Until the Day Breaks (California Rising #1) by Paula Scott

I was first introduced to this book when the author came into the museum I was working at as she needed to discuss something with the curator. We started talking about the book and California and Western history as I absolutely love it.

I read it and the sequel, and enjoyed both of them. So of course, when a few months passed and it was my turn again-I picked it.

So the book takes place in 1846. California “belongs” to Mexico, but not really being more independent. The United States looms closer and closer, Manifest Destiny gobbling up more states. Rachel Tyler grew up in Massachusetts, is Protestant, and raised by her grandparents. She is a sweet woman and engaged to minister hopeful, Stephen. (As soon as his mother dies and releases her control over him)

Well that all changes when her father, Joshua Tyler, awakens their long silence. After Rachel’s mother died, he took off to California to make his fortune and has, in some nefarious ways. He married a wealthy Californio’s niece, Sarita, a girl only a year or so older than his daughter and has brokered a deal matching his daughter with Sarita’s cousin, Roman Vasquez.

This match will work for for Joshua Tyler-as if California remains in Mexico’s control he will have protection in the match. If the United States take over, Tyler can secure the Vasquez land and money through his daughter.

Rachel is hurt over the broken engagement with Stephen and in even more dismay over her upcoming marriage to Roman. Roman is a lusty, passionate, and angry man. Rachel is afraid of that passion, especially as she starts to find herself falling in love with him.

Roman has returned from fighting in the American Intervention with Mexico, known as the Mexican American War by the United States; injured, angry, and finding California completely different then what he left. His family thought he was killed, his fiancé married Joshua Tyler, his family fortune and land is dwindling through his uncle’s gambling, and now he has to marry this Yankee?

But as Roman gets to know Rachel she touches him in a way no one has in a long time. Her kindness, sweetness, and relationship with Christ starts to affect him. But can he really overcome his lust, passion, and anger?

To complicate things further-Sarita is a witch who is angry that Tohic, the god she worships, lied to her about Roman’s death. Even though she is married and Roman is engaged-she will sacrifice anything and do everything to get what she wants.

And as California looks more and more like war is coming-all are uncertain what that means and what exactly to do?

Then to everyone’s surprise Rachel’s ex-fiance shows up! And he brings his friend and ship Captain Dominic Mason.

This is a power firecracker of a novel. It is enjoyable and a real page turner. Every one of us ladies finished long before book club was scheduled to meet.

So while we discussed our book, I thought that in the flavor of Daring Chloe, we should meet in my California town’s historical Saloon that existed in the same time this book is set in. It really was a lot of fun. Here’s a couple of snaps I took. I meant to get a pic of the book in the restaurant,but forgot-maybe I’ll stop by and do it again.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more bible verses, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

 

The Arrest

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So the next artwork we are going to look at is The Betrayal of Jesus by Albrecht Dürer, a woodcut.

Now Dürer was a painter from Germany, his work becoming a part of the German Renaissance. He also did a series of woodcuts, a media made popular after the Gutenberg Press was invented as it was easy and cheap to make.

This woodcut was a part of a series Dürer did, called the Little Passion. This was before he became a part of Martin Luther’s protestant movement; and changed to doing Reformation art.

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So as we look upon Dürer’s work we see a lot of similarities to the Giotto and Duccio pieces I have reviewed in the past. We are given a window onto a world, with the background being about Christs’s arrest and the foreground on Peter’s attack.

But there are a few differences. If you look at the action in the background you see how intense the capture of Christ was. We have men with ropes, spears, and axes; reaching to pull Judas out of the way and capture Jesus. If you look clodsely at the interaction between Jesus, Judas, and the guard; you’ll notice that Caravaggio copied it for his own work almost 100 years later.

We also see a very intense scene with Peter. While most art depicts him cutting the ear off of a guard trying to attack Jesus, this one is more extreme. Not only is Peter about to slice of the man’s appendage, but he has knocked him to the ground, tossed the lantern in his face, and has completely overpowered him.

If you look at Jesus’ face, we can also see that his expression is not one of anger or sadness, but acceptance. He knows what is in store for him, willingly going ahead with the plan.

I choose this painting for the intensity along with the way it brings the text to life. I think this is a powerful woodcut, especially in its depiction of Peter.

“Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.”–Mark 14:43-46

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear…Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”– John 18: 10-11

“And he [Jesus] touched the man’s ear and healed him.” Luke 22: 51

“Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”–Matthew 26: 52-56

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For more paintings on the arrest of Christ, go to The Taking of Christ

For more paintings of Christ, go to What If God Was One of Us?

Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

Hey everyone! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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So like I mentioned before, I wanted to do something to honor Saint Patrick’s Day but I didn’t really feel it was possible to do 17 posts about Irish-themed films as I wasn’t sure I could think of 17 films. Instead I decided to do something similar to the Chinese New Year Post and I am going to honor 17 awesome Irishmen and women from books and movies.

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17) Joseph Donnelly from Far and Away

Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor Irishman, who after his father’s death could no longer pay the high rent. After his family farm is burned down, he goes off to take his revenge on the landlord Daniel Christie. That attempt fails, and by some strange coincidence he finds himself being a valet to Christie’s daughter Shannon on her voyage to America. What was thought as being a temporary arrangement becomes more permanent, as all of Shannon’s things are stolen and she finds herself becoming dependent on Joseph for survival. With the two masquerading as brother and sister they start working in the factories to earn enough money to buy land West. As the two continue to work in America they find out that their road West will not be an easy one.

Why Joseph is awesome:

Now I love Tom Cruise in everything he is in; as I find him to be a superb actor and very good-looking. So of course I loved him in this. Besides the fact that he is played by Tom Cruise,  Joseph is a great character. Joseph is an amazing guy because of his patience and compassion. He cares for the spoiled Shannon, which is no easy feat. If I was Joseph I would have left that mean and spiteful thing to fend for herself. However, he eagerly tries to make her happy and when they reach their lowest point and Joseph cannot provide for her, he returns her to her family; sacrificing his love and happiness to save her life.

Besides that, he is hilarious. His “I do not wish to fight you” lines always leave me rolling with laughter. Plus you gotta love a tough scrapper.

For more on Far and Away go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

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16) Fiona O’Shea from The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell

After the death of her husband, newly-widowed Julia Hollis finds herself being evicted from her home and losing everything. Her only option is to move herself and her three children, Philip, Adele, and Grace to the country side and turn the old Larkspur Inn into a lodging house. Aided by her butler and joined by her trusty maid and friend Fiona O’Shea, she sets out to try and secure a good life for herself and her family.

Why Fiona is awesome:

While Fiona isn’t the main character, she is one of the best ones in there. Fiona is a girl that has had many trials and tribulations, yet still has a caring, sweet demeanor and a heart of gold. At a young age her father traded her to another man for a goat. Even though Fiona was legally married, her role in the household consisted of her being more of a slave than a wife. Forced to cook, clean, and care for his children; Fiona only hangs on through her faith in Christ. After she loses her child, Fiona bravely takes off for England in hopes of a better life. There she serves under Julia, becoming more than a servant; a best friend. Giving up the security of a job, she follows Julia to Larkspur Inn, knowing that without her help there Julia would never survive.

At the hotel, she becomes head housekeeper and cares for everyone who comes through the doors; helping all to feel loved and welcomed. She even goes to see the Keegans, an Irish family that is shunned by almost the entire village for being Irish and Catholic.

Through her kindness and compassion she is able to help heal one of the lodgers, Mr. Ambrose Clay, an actor who suffers from depression. While the two love each other, Fiona remains true to her vows, and instead of risking any destruction to the progress made in Mr. Clay’s case; she leaves Larkspur Inn. Throughout the whole book Fiona’s compassion and selfishness makes you want to be just like her. In the end her husband dies and she and Mr. Clay are able to be reunited with each other and their old friends.

For more on The Widow of Larkspur Inn, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

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15) Kyle Johnson from Luck of the Irish

Disney used to play this film every March 17th, and I am so glad as it is hilarious. Kyle is the golden child; captain of the basketball team, straight-A student, and Lady Luck always seems to be smiling down at him. However, that all changes when Kyle’s lucky coin is stolen from him. He then discovers that his mother’s family are leprechauns and that the coin held their family luck, also allowing them to walk about the Earth looking like normal humans. With his mom shrinking, and him becoming shorter and more leprechauny every minute, he sets out to track down the thief and restore his family luck.

Why Kyle is awesome:

I must confess that when I first watched this movie back in 2001, I had the hugest crush on Ryan Merriman. Besides that, I always thought Kyle was cool because of how he grows as a person when things are no longer easy for him; we see a real strength of character and a heart of gold. When he finds the stolen coins, instead of taking them all, like his grandpa suggests, he just takes his, even though he could have been very lucky and wealthy. Then there are his mad dancing skills he exhibits in the competition against the evil Seamus McTiernen. But most of all, it is when he passes the basketball to his friend in the last game, instead of making the shot-he gives his friend the glory, something the old Kyle never would have thought of doing. Plus you have to admire his wittiness to sending Seamus  to Lake Erie, Ohio instead of Lake Eire, Ireland.

For more Luck of the Irish, go to Friday Night Fun

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14) Sean Thornton from The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man tells the story of Irish-American born boxer, Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton (John Wayne), returning to Ireland to regain his family land. What no one but Father Lonergan knows is that Thornton killed a man in the ring, and decided to give up boxing and fighting for good. While in Ireland, Thornton falls for the feisty, traditional Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O’Hara). Thornton wants to date her, but has to go through all the traditional methods of courtship, something extremely foreign to him.

Why Sean Thornton is awesome:

Just going to get it out of the way, but the fact that he is played by John Wayne earned him a spot on this list. But seriously, Thornton is awesome because while he feels all the rules of courtship and hoops he has to jump through are silly, he still does them because he loves Mary Kate and knows that it is what she wants-he lays down his pride to make her happy. Later, when her brother is being spiteful and withholds her dowry, he goes out to purchase everything she wanted with his own money. What an amazing guy! Of course Maureen O’Hara plays a spitfire who cannot see the goodness of Thornton’s actions as clearly as us movie audience members.

For more on The Quiet Man, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

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13) Gerry from P.S. I Love You

After Holly’s husband Gerry dies of a brain tumor, she becomes so depressed that she doesn’t want to live anymore. To her surprise she begins receiving letters from Gerry, these letters encouraging her and eventually helping her heal and move on in her life.

Why Gerry is awesome:

Gerry is the ultimate husband. How amazing is it that he spent so much of his last moments constructing all these messages to send his wife to help her after he was gone. Such a selfless man to be considering her needs above his.

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12) Tom Branson from Downtown Abbey

Irish chauffer that wins the heart of the Earl’s youngest daughter Sybil. Hotheaded and very into politics and speaking his mind on the subject.

Why Tom Branson is awesome:

At first I disliked Branson. Sybil was my favorite character and I felt that he wasn’t good enough for her as he was an anarchist and trying to free Ireland from the English’s rule through violence. But after the two marry and Sybil dies in childbirth I began to like him better. He became more subdued and realized that his destructive thoughts might not really be the best thing. He helped Matthew with the reforms on estate, utilizing his farming skills and helping the home flourish. One of the best things he does though, is stay with the family so they have full access to baby Sybil. I mean it would have been so easy to be selfish and take the baby far away, but he knows that the rest of the family is hurting for their missing member and while Baby Sybil will never replace the hole her mother left, she can help repair it.

For more on Tom Branson and Downton Abbey, go to Fantastic Fantasies

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11) Micky Ward from The Fighter

The Fighter is based on the story of Micky Ward. It chronicles his desire to become a big-time boxer, the struggle with his brother’s drug addiction, the trials of having his mother manage him, attempts at staying connected to his daughter, his developing relationship with Charlene Fleming, and his journey to reach the top.

Why Micky Ward is awesome:

Ignoring the fact that he is played by Mark Wahlberg, Micky’s story is something that everyone can connect to. We all have the dream to make something of ourselves and here we have a man who kept trying and eventually did it. He had some hard times, he almost gave up, but in the end he kept on swingin’. The only travesty is that this film failed to win the oscar (I mean it was much better than The King’s Speech) along with the evil academy completely snubbing Wahlberg by nominating everyone but him. He totally should have received a nom, at least in my opinion. I highly recommend it as it is a great movie with one amazing soundtrack.

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10) Blarney Kilakilarney from A Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold

Blarney Kilakilarney is the leprechaun narrator of A Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold. In the film young cabin boy, Dinky Doyl, is shipwrecked on an uncharted, Irish, Leprechaun-filled, island. As it is Christmas, he searches the place for the perfect tree to cut down for his celebration. Unwittingly, when he chops that tree down he releases Old Mag the Hag, the evil banshee after the Kilakilarney clans’ gold. The wee folk with the help of Dinky must find a way to stop her.

Why Blarney Kilakilarney is awesome:

First of all, Blarney is adorable. Look at his wee little spectacles and adorable little face. Besides that, he is kind and caring. Even though Dinky manages to make plenty of screw-ups, Blarney is merciful and doesn’t parade his mistakes or criticize him.  He’s the type of person one is always eager to have as a friend.

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9) Reilly O’Reilly from The Luck of the Irish

Disney used to play this film every March 17th, and I am so glad as it is hilarious. Kyle is the golden child; captain of the basketball team, straight-A student, and Lady Luck always seems to be smiling down at him. However, that all changes when Kyle’s lucky coin is stolen from him. He then discovers that his mother’s family are leprechauns and that the coin held their family luck, also allowing them to walk about the Earth looking like normal humans. With his mom shrinking, and him becoming shorter and more leprechauny every minute, he sets out to track down the thief and restore his family luck.

Why Reilly O’Reilly is awesome:

Well besides being a 200 year old leprechaun, he traveled to America a poor immigrant and worked hard to establish a successful potato chip factory. Not to mention he can play the flute, has a trunkful of shoes to repair, and glorious white beard that Gandalf and Dumbledore would be jealous of, and loves to follow rainbows. True he had a disagreement with his daughter over her marriage, but that all gets resolved in the end. Besides, he helps Bonny be able to play basketball by securing her an internship at his factory and getting her father off her back.

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8) Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley from Going My Way

Going My Way tells the story of the young Priest, Father O’Malley, clashing with the older priest, Father Fitzgibbon, in trying to help the church, Saint Dominic’s. At first Father Fitzgibbon hates the way Father O’Malley is running things, but in time sees that what Father O’Malley is doing, is actually helping the church be stronger.

Why Father O’Malley is awesome:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, having this particular actor play the part just made the film. Bing Crosby is amazing as Father O’Malley, not just because of his singing voice but how he is able to put such excitement and energy into the character.  Father O’Malley not only cares for the children in his choir and the parishioners; but also for the older Father Fitzgibbon. He is there for everyone and always lends a helping hand.

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7) Banshee AKA Sean Cassidy from X-Men

Banshee is an Irish mutant that has a sonic scream that enables him to harm other’s auditory systems and create vibrations. These vibrations enable him to fly as they help propel him upward. He first joins the X-Men in 1975 when Xavier is recreating the team. Replacing Angel, the Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl  with Banshee, Sunfire, Wolverine,  Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird. He later meets up with Dr. Moira MacTaggert and falls in love with her.

Why Banshee is awesome:

Being an X-men automatically makes you one of the cool crew. I mean if you haven’t read the comics then you can’t really understand how Banshee’s character is so likable. He’s just one of those characters you fall in love with. But stick to the original comics, the newer ones and alternate dimensions always screw up the things you love.

They managed to do a pretty good job of representing him in the new X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class. My only problem was that they made him too young.

For more on X-Men go to Push All the Buttons!

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6) Priest Vallon from Gangs of New York

While only in the first few minutes of the film, Priest Vallon sets up the rest of the plot. It is the year 1846 and the “Natives” (American born) are about to have a West Side Storyian type rumble with Dead Rabbits (Irish Catholic immigrants). The leader of the Natives is Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis who I absolutely adore) and the leader of the Dead Rabbits being Vallon (Liam Neeson who is also amazing). Battle ensues and Vallon is killed by The Butcher. Vallon’s son Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) vows to avenge his father’s death.

Why Priest Vallon is awesome:

Hello, its LIAM NEESON! Dare I really say more? No, but really even though we only have a few minuets of him in the film, throughout it he is revealed to be an honorable man, kind, compassionate, and super tough. Even if Amsterdam and Bill didn’t sing his praises throughout the film, you would still get the same sense of what a great man he is from those few scenes of him.

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5) Mr. Connors from Behind the Waterfall

Behind the Waterfall is a Feature Family Film, a company that creates film fit for the whole family. The movie is about two siblings, Tommy and his older sister Becky, who are sent to stay with their aunt for the summer after the death of their father. While they are there they met Irishmen Mr. Conners, who Tommy is convinced is a leprechaun and can bring their father back. With Mr. Conners’ help, the two kids come to terms with their father’s death and are able to move on.

Why Mr. Conners is awesome:

For an older man who really enjoys his privacy, he puts up with a lot of Tommy’s silly notions. He becomes a father figure to him and helps him see that while he can’t bring his father back, he can always carry him in his heart. Plus when Tommy is convinced that he is a leprechaun, Mr. Conners kind of plays along. By the end of it, he has you wondering if he really is a leprechaun or just an elderly man.

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4) Matthew Murdock AKA Daredevil from Daredevil 

Matthew Murdock is a young Irishman growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. After an encounter with radioactive substances (they fell off a moving truck) he loses his sight. From there on he is mentored on how to see the world through his other senses, gaining super sensitivity. After the death of his father he becomes a lawyer by day and superhero extraordinaire by night.

Why Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil is awesome:

Well it’s DAREDEVIL! How is he not cool? Grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and despite that neighborhood and blindness, he is able to become a lawyer and superhero. While he can’t see, his other senses have heightened making him  truly terrible foe. I mean how much cooler can you get?

He totally does the whole Clark Kent thing too, but in a much less annoying way. (Pretends to be helpless so no one suspects his other identity.) Only Marvel could come up with a character this amazing. (I love DC, but in comparison Marvel has some much better superheroes.)

I must admit that though I absolutely love Ben Affleck, the Daredevil film was not as good as it could have been. Ben was amazing as Matt, but some of the other characters were poorly portrayed. And I hate how they kill off his amazing villain. I hate it when they kill off these super-awesome villains in the first movie! I mean, hello, don’t you think it would be better to keep them alive so they can be in the sequels?

For more on Daredevil, go to Old Fandoms and New Fancies

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3) Stephen the Irishman from Braveheart

Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace‘s fight for freedom. After an English lord tries to rape his wife, and kills her; Wallace starts a rebellion against King Edward I of England (AKA Edward Longshanks). 

Why Stephen is awesome:

Stephen is an Irishman that Wallace comes across in the woods. While at first he seems a little addled he proves his mettle by killing an assassin trying to murder Wallace. He ends up one of Wallace’s right hand men and is one the best and hilarious characters in the movie. One of the best scenes is when he convinces the conscripted Irishmen to fight on behalf of Scotland instead of England. King Edward I sends out the Irishman, and is extremely surprised to find that instead of fighting they are cordially greeting the Scottish.

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2) Marty McFly from Back to the Future 

I love Marty! Marty is sooooooooo awesome! The only reason he isn’t number one is because how could I put anyone over Saint Patrick in a Saint Patrick’s Day honoring post? That makes no sense.

Anyways, so Back to the Future is about a guy, Marty McFly, who accidentally goes back in time in a time machine built by his friend, Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown. When he gets there he accidentally changes the future by causing his parents to not meet. Now he has to get them back together or else he will cease to exist.

Why Marty is Awesome:

Well first of all, Marty is played by Michael J. Fox, I mean already his level of awesomeness is through the roof. Michael J. Fox is just gorgeous and has an amazing voice. But I digress…well Marty is the essence of cool. He plays guitar, has his own band, wears great clothes, etc. He also is loyal friend and great guy. Others may see Doc as crazy, but Marty looks past all the rumors and befriends the eccentric guy. He is also brave, willing to take down those stronger than him and do some crazy stunts in order to protect the people he loves.

Now he isn’t without his faults, but that just makes you love him more as he just seems so real. He hates being disrespected which does cause him to do some stupid stuff. He also can give up easily on things, or try to take the easy way out; but these are all things he is working on. By the end of the trilogy we see a lot of growth in him as he has learned how to be a better person.

As you may have guessed by now, I love this film. It is my absolute fav so Marty is high in my best fictional guys list.

For more on Back to the Future go to The Clock is Ticking!

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1) Sucat AKA Patrick from Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

So of course Patrick has to be number one on the list, after all the day is named after him. I mean how could I not put him first?

So the story of Time Cat is that Gareth, the cat, takes his master Jason on nine adventures through time. They travel from the ancient Egypt all the way to Colonial America. Along the way they stop in Ireland 411 BC

Why Patrick is Awesome:

In the story Patrick was a slave brought to Ireland and is one of the few to stand up to the evil magician Lugad who is trying to control the king and retain a high position by utilizing the superstitions of the area to his best advantage. He’s smart, educated, brave, but also loyal. He saves Jason and Gareth from being killed and goes off to help everyone in Ireland.

“It’s a curious thing,’ he said, ‘but I have come to love this country even as a slave…I understand now what I must do…I shall go into the world…I shall learn and bring back what I learn. There shall be no more need for magicians then.”–Time Cat, pg 70.

The real Saint Patrick actually did those things, going throughout Ireland teaching the gospel and helping educate people. In many of his sermons he used the three-leaf clover as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, that’s why it became such a symbol on his day. March 17th was when he died, and that is why we honor him, although lately, it has become more of an excuse to get as drunk as you want.

For more Lloyd Alexander, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper: The Black Cauldron (1985)

I hope you all have a great holiday, and don’t forget to wear green! I always do as there are many out there who like to pinch the non-wearers.

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