The Irish Upstart - By Shirley Kennedy


A Regency Romance by Shirley Kennedy

County Clare, Ireland, 1816

Evleen O'Fallon is shocked when handsome Lord Thomas Linberry appears at her family’s humble cottage overlooking Galway Bay. Just arrived from England, he bears the news that Evleen’s young half brother Patrick—born to the dissolute Englishman who stole her mother’s heart and spent her fortune—is the heir to a vast estate. Patrick’s mother won’t let him go to England with Lord Thomas unless Evleen accompanies him. Thus begins Evleen’s harrowing journey from her beloved Ireland to England, where she finds herself an outcast in London’s snobbish high society.

The author’s meticulous research of Ireland in the 19th centuiry brings authenticity to the story. Thomas and Evleen’s romance begins under the Whispering Arch at the ancient ruins of Clonmacnoise. It survives a nightmare journey across the Irish Sea on The Countess of Liverpool. They come from different worlds. Will their love survive?

This book was originally published by Signet

Copyright © 2011 by Shirley Kennedy All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Dedicated with heartfelt thanks to my many friends on the Internet who helped me with my research for The Irish Upstart.

They include Paddy Kavanaugh of Athlone, Ireland, who supplied me with information on Clonmacnoise, as well as Ireland’s early coaching days.

They also include the learned gentlemen of a certain maritime history group who went out of their way too supply me with details about the ships that sailed between England and Ireland in Regency times. Many thanks!

Chapter 1

Dublin, Ireland, 1807

Evleen O’Fallon took one last look around the drawing room of her Dublin townhouse and choked back tears. In all her fifteen years, this was the worst day of her life. She thought again and quickly corrected herself. No, not quite the worst because the worst was five years ago when Papa died. That would make today the second worst . . .

No. The second worst was the day Mama married the Englishman.

So today was third worst, no question. It was the day she must say goodbye to the only life she had ever known and face a life of . . . what? She had yet to see their future home, that small farm to the west, near Galway Bay. “It’s going to be fine,” Mama had assured them, but Evleen knew better. How could anything in the world be as good as the life she had now? What could replace her debut into the glittering Dublin society that she’d so looked forward to? Nothing. And Mama knew better than to promise there would be the same balls and soirees on the other side of Ireland in barren County Clare, which, as far as she was concerned, might as well be on the other side of the moon.

And all this thanks to the Englishman. Bitterness filled Evleen’s heart as she thought of Randall, Lord Montfret, whose lies and slick charm had fooled Mama completely. Despite all the warnings, Mama had married him. Then, just as friends and family predicted, he squandered her money, practically down to the last farthing, and then had the gall to up and die. Typhoid, the doctor said.

As a consequence, Mama had been compelled to sell their elegant townhouse on Lower Fitzwilliam Street, directly across from Merrion Square. Although the sale of the townhouse had fetched the tidy sum of eight hundred pounds, Mama, citing the family’s poverty, sold most of their possessions as well. “Don’t for a moment think we’re rich,” she warned. “We will no doubt have to stretch those eight hundred pounds for years to come.” As a consequence, there were no more jewels, baubles, and pretty clothes; no more servants, no more lady’s maid to help them dress and fix their hair...

Evleen squeezed her eyes shut. Oh, I must stop this. I’m the oldest. I must remain strong, not only for Mama, but for Darragh, Sorcha, Mary and Patrick.

Wrapped in misery, Evleen watched as two indifferent draymen removed the few fine things of Mama’s she’d decided to keep to the wagon outside. At least Mama had kept her needlework boxes, and, thank heavens, all the books they owned. Still, there were so many lovely things that, of necessity, would be left behind. Evleen glanced at the fireplace and called, “Mama, are you not taking the pole screen?” A lump rose in her throat