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The Garden of Martyrs

de Michael C. White

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454492,683 (3.75)11
A Catholic parish is torn apart when two of its members are accused of murder The year 1806 is not a good time to be Catholic in Boston. When a man is brutally killed on the Boston Post Road, two unsuspecting Irishmen are charged with the crime. For five months they rot in prison, denied a lawyer until just two days before the hearing. It is a mockery of justice--a one-day trial that results in a unanimous verdict: The Irishmen will be hanged, dissected, and dismembered.   Comforting them falls to Father Cheverus, a French émigré struggling to adapt to life in the New World. It is his duty to help the condemned find peace, but any overture he makes to the prisoners will be met with an anti-Catholic backlash that could destroy his fledgling congregation. As he walks a fraught path, the priest must decide: Is his obligation to his flock, or to God?  … (més)
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Es mostren totes 4
This is quality historical fiction. Set in early nineteenth century America White uses the true case of James Halligan and Dominic Daley, two Irish Catholic immigrants to Boston, who were charged with murder. This is the story of their trial and the affect that anti-Catholic feeling had at the time on the verdict. White also focuses on a third character, Father Chevereus, one of the two priests in Boston at the time. Both of whom had escaped from France during the French Revolution.

This is well written and well researched. As the characters are mostly real people White has had to use his imagination to flesh out their motivations but he seems to have given some thought to this and the end result rings true. The picture of the times and what brought these men to this point is fascinating. This is wonderful story telling that highlights a period of history that I knew very little about. If you have any interest in religious, political, social or legal history I definitely recommend this book. ( )
2 vota calm | Jul 22, 2012 |
This is an outstanding novel about a not often written about time in the growth of the United States. It is a study in prejudice, persecution and hatred against foreigners immigrating to the Boston era in 1805-6. Based around a real trial of two Irish Roman Catholic immigrants Dominic Daley and James Halligan (pardoned finally by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1984), it explores the climate of that time ~ and how the two were basically found guilty on who they were (there was no evidence to speak of). It was quite a sad learning experience, but what an outstanding novel. The third character is a French priest who came to the area to escape persecution himself during the Revolution. There are beautiful explorations on what it means to help someone, what it means to sacrifice and being ready to die for what you believe in. Never preachy (quite a task), but very informative historically, I heartily recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in that time, the development of the Roman Catholic Church and the Irish American immigrant experience of that time. I also am an attorney and tend to avoid "trial books" like the plague, but this one is very well done, pretty accurate on what goes on in the courtroom. Just a great novel, period. ( )
1 vota CarolynSchroeder | Feb 16, 2010 |
3993. The Garden of Martyrs, by Michael C. White (read March 1, 2005) The month started out right, with this work of fiction firmly grounded in the trial in 1806 of Dominic Daley and James Halligan for the murder of Marcus Lyon at Northampton, Mass. A hero of the book is Father Jean Cheverus, who in 1810 became the first Bishop of Boston (and whose biography by Annabelle M. Melville I read with considerable appreciation on 2 Apr 1983). The account of the trial is done very well--the defendants were not allowed to testify under the evidence rules in effect in those days!--and their lawyer was only allowed three days to prepare for trial. This was a most moving book, especially in the latter parts, and is an eloquent commentary on the wrong of capital punishment. By this book of fiction one learns of a startling fact of history--always a goal I appreciate in a novel. This book is a winner. ( )
  Schmerguls | Oct 14, 2007 |
From Amazon...

In 1806 Boston, two Irish immigrants, Dominic Daley and James Halligan, were hanged for murder: it took nearly 200 years for the state of Massachusetts to proclaim their innocence. White, who captured Boston Irish Catholicism in The Blind Side of the Heart (1999), takes the historical characters in this story and weaves a novel around them. Heading each chapter with quotes from primary documents, he reveals the intense anti-Catholic prejudice of nineteenth-century Boston. The French priest Father Cheverus must weigh his superior's fear of offending local officials against the great need of the accused for spiritual succor. We know just how badly this will go, as White spins out the tales of Daley and Halligan, their histories and families, and that of Father Cheverus. The detail, although sometimes dense and clotted, is rich in historical resonance.
  stmarysmelrose | Jun 30, 2007 |
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A Catholic parish is torn apart when two of its members are accused of murder The year 1806 is not a good time to be Catholic in Boston. When a man is brutally killed on the Boston Post Road, two unsuspecting Irishmen are charged with the crime. For five months they rot in prison, denied a lawyer until just two days before the hearing. It is a mockery of justice--a one-day trial that results in a unanimous verdict: The Irishmen will be hanged, dissected, and dismembered.   Comforting them falls to Father Cheverus, a French émigré struggling to adapt to life in the New World. It is his duty to help the condemned find peace, but any overture he makes to the prisoners will be met with an anti-Catholic backlash that could destroy his fledgling congregation. As he walks a fraught path, the priest must decide: Is his obligation to his flock, or to God?  

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