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Something Bigger

Something Bigger

Author(s): Sheila Killian

Location(s): Alabama

Genre(s): Historical, Fiction

Era(s): 1920

When fourteen-year-old Marcella Coyle leaves Ireland to join her brother, a parish priest in Alabama, she could not have foreseen the turmoil that lay ahead. Plunged into the tense cauldron of the early twentieth century’s Deep South, Marcella struggles to understand her outspoken brother and his perilous refusal to alter his mission even as the KKK takes to the streets, spewing hatred at minorities and Catholics. As she strives to rescue some meaning out of her exile in this foreign land, Marcella is swept up into a dangerous friendship, with consequences that shock the city and make an indelible mark on history.

“Sheila Killian’s staggeringly accomplished, meticulously researched and unbelievably gripping debut, Something Bigger (Caritas Press), follows 14-year-old Marcella Coyle from Ireland to Alabama where she joins her brother, a fortitudinous Catholic priest pitted against the terrible power of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s a story of integrity, love, loyalty and friendship, and a stark illumination of Irish emigrant politics and racial and sectarian strife through the first half of the 20th century.
– Donal Ryan in the Sunday Independent, August 1st, 2021”

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