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Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  13 reviews
1868 Ottawa

Politician Thomas D'Arcy McGee is assassinated. As Prime Minister John A. Macdonald cradles his friend's bloody head, he blames transplanted Irish terrorists: the Fenian Brotherhood. Within a day, Patrick James Whelan is arrested. After a show trial, Whelan is publicly hanged.

That much is history. Did Whelan do the deed?

What if Clara Swift, a mere slip of a girl
Kindle Edition, 332 pages
Published March 21st 2018 by FriesenPress
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Rating details
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Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Over the past 50 years, I've owned several cats, all of whom have been named after Canadian historical figures: (Sir Charles)Tupper, (Allen Napier) MacNab, Ikie (Brock), Laura (Secord), Nelly (McClung), (Pierre) Elliott (Trudeau), Fenian, and not least (Thomas D'Arcy) McGee.

So when I saw this novel by Canadian author Ann Shortell based on the real-life assassination of McGee, I was in!

In school, we learned about McGee's death, significant because his was the first political assassination in Ca
James Fisher
An exceptional "history with a mystery" novel. Full review here: ...more
Bill Arnott
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional book - well researched and an utterly engaging page turner!
Billy Buttons
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale
Author: Ann Shortell

Star Rating: 4 Stars
Number of Readers: 17
Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 8/10
Content: 8/10
Cover: 5/10
Of the 17 readers:
13 would read another book by this author.
7 thought the cover was good or excellent.
10 felt it was easy to follow.
13 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’.
11 fe
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Ripped-from-the-headlines story about an incident in Canadian history of which I was heretofore unaware. Written by a relative, it was pressed on me by both my mother and mother-in-law, and I was slow to give in. Glad I finally did.
Jim Napier
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On April 7th, 1869, fifteen-year-old housemaid Clara Swift recalls the murder of her former master, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, exactly one year earlier. It is a difficult task for her to relive these events, but she has been asked to do so by none other than Sir John A. Macdonald, the Prime Minister of Canada, who is anxious that a true account of McGee’s life, and of his death, be preserved for history.

She begins by recounting McGee’s emigration from Ireland in 1848, hounded for being a rebel. After
Review available at Foreword Reviews. ...more
Book Reviewer
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is a thrilling murder mystery story that combines true facts with fiction in a compelling historical fantasy novel. The book follows the story of a young housekeeper, Clara Swift, who is sought by Prime Minister John A Macdonald to help find out who assassinated his master, Mr. McGee. Clara's tenacity and abilities get her embroiled in a plot with national consequences.

Ann Shortell has creatively used a well known historical moment to tell a riveting mystery. Clar
Kelly Miller
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was engaged with Clara from the beginning. She is feisty, smart as a whip and as faithful to her religious beliefs one can expect from a teenage girl. Certainly, she has more respect for the truth than those around her, and she is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of her beloved former employer. The language/slang of the time-frame, and of the various nationalities in late 1800's Ottawa Canada, added authenticity to this tale of a fictionalized true event. ...more
Susan Weintrob
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This historical novel incorporates the actual events with well developed characters and a tension in the plot that keeps readers' interest throughout the novel. The plight of young women in poverty, without rights or security, is clearly drawn with the strong characters that are part of the plot. The prejudice against the Irish is often forgotten today but was a large part of the political scene then. This is a well written novel about an important part of 19th century Canadian history. ...more
gj indieBRAG
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We are proud to announce that CELTIC KNOT: A Clara Swift Tale by Ann Shortell is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money!
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award, Shortell’s debut which details the assassination of the politician Thomas D'Arcy McGee and its aftermath, is both original in conception and thorough in detail.

On April 7th, 1869, a year after the politician Thomas D'Arcy McGee is assassinated, Sir John A. Macdonald, the Prime Minister of Canada, assigns fifteen-year-old Clara Swift, McGee’s former housemaid, to recount circumstances of the senseless murder to preserve the true account of McGee’s life and
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada
I kinda know who D'Arcy McGee is because my childhood home is on a street named after him. However, I  didn't know he was assassinated nor do I remember ever hearing of Fenians so I don't what that says about my education.

But this is exactly why I had set a goal for myself a few years ago to read more books that take place in Canada and/or feature Canadian characters and/or Canadian history.

So I am thankful for great historical fiction that makes it enjoyable to learn about this stuff! It was
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