A Story of Survival

This book is a work of historical fiction based on a true story: rather than watch their children weaken and starve, the McCarthy and Sullivan families leave poverty-stricken Ireland to become part of the Peter Robinson Settlement in Canada. Robinson, a member of the Canadian Upper Parliament, was responsible for bringing thousands of Irish settlers to Canada, where they vastly improved their situation through hard work and determination.

The story follows the fortunes, trials and tribulations of Thomas McCarthy, his wife Johanna and their three children. At the same time, we learn about the William Sullivan family, who travel on a different ship to Canada. The two families become acquainted when Denis McCarthy agrees to teach the Sullivan children to read.

Both families must deal with tragedies and never is a day taken for granted, although every day there is cause for thanks. Interspersed throughout is the Irish love of song, music and dance.

Premise of the story


Although the true account of the McCarthy immigration has not been passed down through the generations, some liberties had to be taken to make the story complete. The main characters and the Peter Robinson Settlement Project are real; the storyline is fictional.  Even though this story does not set out to provide a complete account of the McCarthy and Sullivan exodus, it is a reflection of their character that I tried to identify. I have examined my known points of reference—my grandfather, my father, my uncle, myself, my children, as well as my grandchildren—to determine key, common personality traits. It is their character, built through this examination, that I am presenting, rather than a complete and accurate account of the original immigrants.