Irish author launches debut novel at Bong CenterNiki Phillips, sister of director emeritus, Christabel Grant, will be in the Twin Ports at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center 5-7 p.m. today to launch her new book.
Niki Phillips, sister of director emeritus, Christabel Grant, will be in the Twin Ports at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center 5-7 p.m. today to launch her new book.
Long-time educator and first-time novelist, Phillips is coming to the United States to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style — with the publication of her debut novel. A family saga of love, tragedy and war spanning four generations, “The Liffey Flows on By,” transports readers back to Ireland in the early 1900s.
The story revolves around the Butlers, a wealthy Irish family living on a large estate bordering the River Liffey. With a family tradition of disregarding society’s class distinctions, the Butlers’ lives are interwoven with those of their estate staff.
At the novel’s center are Tom Butler, who with his twin brother fights in the first World War and loves the beautiful Rachel; his son Milo, who with his best friend fights in the second World War and finds love in an unexpected place; and Maggie Flynn, their cook housekeeper who dispenses advice but holds secrets of her own.
“As the story of the Butler family evolved, I felt it was important to show that in Ireland even at that time, a hundred years ago, the boundaries between social groups were not always so firmly drawn, and it was possible for people to cross over social divides successfully and without incurring prejudices,” said Phillips, describing her motivation to write the novel, in which she wove drama, humor and historical events. “Additionally, as I researched the facts for my book, I became fascinated by the very great contribution made by the Southern Irish not only during WWI but also during WWII. It made me keen to give this something of a high profile.”
“Niki Phillips has an impressive knowledge of her subject and a special talent for writing evocative descriptions of battle scenes. She also paints a vivid picture of life in Ireland at the time in which the novel is set,” wrote Leigh Ferrani, writer.
The book is already in stock and available at the Bookstore at Fitgers in Duluth and at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis. Copies will be available for sale and signing at the Bong Center tonight.