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Wandering Potatoes: Best Historical Novel of 2003, Award by High Country Friends of the Tuolumne County, California Library, 2004


Wandering Potatoes focuses on life choices made by five women in an Irish-American family: Kate O’Neill, who in 1839, marries, against her father’s will, and emigrates to America; Brigid, daughter of Kate, who travels west in 1877 with her husband and children to witness the death of Crazy Horse; Eileen, Brigid’s daughter, who in 1900 leaves an Oregon convent after ten years as a nun; Helen, Eileen’s daughter, who sails in 1949 across an ocean with four children to join her husband; and Katie, daughter of Helen, who in 1969 turns her back on marriage to join political movements for civil and equal rights. Based on stories passed on from mother to daughter, this novel provides a people’s history of Irish famine and immigration, the Civil War, the Indian Wars, women roles at the turn of the century, the Korean War, global expansion, the women’s movement. Through these lives of adventurous women in one Irish-American family weave themes of oppression, discrimination, courage, compassion, integrity, the challenges of bridging differences and the contradictions of being both deprived and privileged, oppressed and oppressor, characteristic of American history.


"Dreaming back through the Motherline, Margaret Blanchard brings alive her own family's stories and, in the process, frees the trapped ancestral stories in us all. Compelling and compassionate, this books sings to the heart." 

-Patricia Monaghan, author of O Mother Sun! and Dancing with Chaos, editor of Unlacing: Ten Irish-American Women Poets

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