Sunfire Romance Novels
In the 80s, the world was lit by Sunfire!

Kathleen Quick Notes

Sunfire #8 is Kathleen by Candice F. Ransom.

Kathleen Front Cover (Credit: Sanjulian)

Kathleen is the first Sunfire girl to immigrate to North America during the course of the book, in this case from Ireland.

Front Cover Blurb: Behind her was the home she could never return to. Ahead was the shining promise of America…and love.

Back Cover Blurb: There were times she wished she’d never come to America.

Main Character: Kathleen O’Connor, Irish immigrant; red hair, green eyes , almost 17. Called “Katie” by her family and nicknamed “Cat” by David Thornley. Flees the famine in Ireland to become a maid in a wealthy Boston household.

Note that Kathleen gets the nickname “Cat” because she has ginger hair and green eyes, just like David’s sister’s cat, Oliver Twist.

Once upon a time in New York City...er, Boston

Suitor #1: Patrick Shannon, carroty-red hair and gray-green eyes, also Irish, a few years older than Kathleen. Works in the stables of the Thornley estate and gets Kathleen her job.

Suitor #2: David Thornley; brown hair, brown eyes; not quite 18; son of the upper-class family from Beacon Hill who Kathleen works for. Wants to be a writer.

Dead Suitor: Kathleen is haunted by memories of her former boyrfirend, Rory Limerick, who died in the famine along with most of Kathleen’s family. Rory had black hair and blue eyes, yet something about David reminds her of him.

Setting: 1847, first a ship from Ireland to America, then Boston.

Front Cover: Middle: Kathleen, wearing a far-too-upscale lacy blouse under her shawl; left: Patrick, looking more like a pirate king than a stableboy; right: David, vaulting straight out of “Great Expectations” or some other Dickens classic. I love that he’s carrying a book, but there’s no way he’s a teenager. Bottom right: Kathleen and David, with Kathleen in a strangely upper-class summery gown and hat. Maybe it’s supposed to be her wedding? She seems to be holding flowers.

Back Cover: Couples waltzing at Victoria’s birthday ball. I’m thinking the foremost couple is supposed to be David and Charlotte.

Kathleen Back Cover

My copy of Kathleen is almost falling apart, the sign of a well-loved book. The spine is so cracked that it probably won’t take much more handling. Honestly, I think I loved this book for the descriptions of the clothes as much as the story. From Victoria’s “Ophelia Rose” tea gown and ice-blue clouded satin ball gown to Charlotte’s camellia-pink ball gown to Kathleen’s hand-me-down wisteria green gown, I loved them all. And who could read this book without longing for a pair of bronze kid slippers?

I also love the innocent romance of this book. If there’s anything I’ve learned from reading adult romance, nonfiction, and historical fiction, it’s this: the wealthy heir does NOT marry the maid and live happily ever after. He may sexually assault her, get her with child, and abandon her. If they DO legitimately marry for love, the husband dies young, and his parents take the child to raise and drive away the mother.

But here, we just get the youthful innocence of teenagers in love. With a Schurfranz book, the girl will end up with the guy who appreciates her true self. The Shura heroine will end up with the guy who used to hate her. In a Ransom book, the couple are always exact opposites, star-crossed lovers who somehow make it work. I like to believe that Kathleen and David beat the odds, made the Thornleys accept her, and lived long, happy lives.

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