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Cynthia Owens and her new release Keeper of the Light


Hello again, Victorians and Victorian-era fans, and thank you for having me again today. I’m thrilled to be returning to Slip Into Something Victorian, and I’m happy to be talking about my new novel, Keeper of the Light, Book II of The Wild Geese Series.

Keeper of the Light is a very special story to me because it allowed me to combine several different elements into one book: Ireland and Irish mythology, a darkly sensual, brooding Irish hero, a story that’s close to the sea (one of my favorite places in the entire world), and best of all to this proud Canadian, a little- known but very important bit of Canadian history.

Shortly after the end of the American Civil War, the Fenian Brotherhood, a group of Irish Catholics dedicated to freeing Ireland from Britain, attempted to invade Canada.

Made up mostly of former Union soldiers, they hoped to take areas of the country, then known as British North America, hostage. The ransom? Irish freedom, of course.

Keeper of the Light was inspired by the Fenian Brotherhood’s “invasion” of Campobello Island.

Many of these “invaders” were former soldiers of the Irish Brigade who fought on both sides of the American Civil War. Their aim was to take Canada – then a British colony – hostage and force Britain to ransom the country with Irish freedom.

The raid, led by John O’Mahony, took place in April of 1866 at Campobello Island, New Brunswick. A war party of over 700 landed on the shores of Maine. The British responded with Royal Navy warships carrying over 700 British regulars. The fleet sailed to Passamaquoddy Bay, where the Fenian force was concentrated. Discouraged and out-manned, the Fenians quickly dispersed, but the attempted invasion had far-reaching effects for the fledgling country of Canada.

The attempted invasion reinforced the idea that New Brunswick would be protected by joining with the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia and the United Province of Canada to form the Dominion of Canada. The greatest impact of the raids was the increased sense of Canadian nationalism, which eventually led the provinces into a Confederation.

To this day, the Fenian raids are viewed as an important factor in creating the Canadian nation.

About Keeper of the Light

…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…

She was everything he despised…but he didn’t know it

Cathal Donnelly washed up on the shores of an Atlantic island one stormy night, with no memory of who he was or why he was there. But is his lovely rescuer his salvation…or his doom?

She dreamed of a very different life

Laura Bainbridge has spent her entire life on tiny Turtle Island, but she dreams of a Season in London and a presentation to Queen Victoria. Can a handsome Irish stranger with a golden tongue and a disturbing past change her heart and convince her to stay?Keeper_of_the_Light_-_test

As Cathal’s memory slowly returns, both he and Laura must come to grips with his painful past…and fight for a future free of hatred and loss.


He moaned again, but made no further response. A cloud skimmed across the moon and away again, leaving her with an unimpeded view of his sleeping face. She caught her breath.

He was beautiful.

His skin was fair but for the nasty gash at his temple. A livid scrape slashed across one high cheekbone. His long black curls flopped wetly over his forehead, and Laura fought the urge to brush them back…

His brows were long, dark slashes against the pallor of his high forehead, the two vertical lines between them the only sign of his conflict. A soft moan spilled from his full lips, making her wonder what it might be like to be kissed by that oh-so-masculine mouth.

Her fascinated gaze roved over the freckles sprinkled across his long straight nose, the tiny dent in his chin that surely must deepen into a cleft when he smiled. He shifted restlessly, drawing her gaze to the broad shoulders encased in white wool, down the long body and along his well-muscled legs. His hands were large and square, calloused and bleeding. One of them clutched a canvas bag in a death grip.

“They’re coming for us.” His deep voice vibrated with raw anguish. “We’ve got to…get out of here. Now!” He tried to rise, but fell back with a helpless half-groan.

Buy Keeper of the Light



Barnes & Noble




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Powell’s Books

About Cynthia

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of  Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond. The first three books in The Claddagh Series, In Sunshine or in Shadow, Coming Home, and Playing For Keeps, are all available from Highland Press. Deceptive Hearts and Keeper of the Light, the first two books in The Wild Geese Series, have just been released.

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.



  1. Cynthia Owens says:

    Good morning, Victorian ladies, and thank you so much for having me here today!

  2. Great post, Cynthia. I tweeted.

  3. Cynthia Owens says:

    Thanks, Ella,glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for the tweet, and thanks for stopping by!

  4. […] that the Irish once tried to invade Canada and hold the country for ransom? I’m guesting at Slip into Something Victorian and talking about this very important plot point in Keeper of the […]

  5. Hi, Cynthia! The history behind your story is fascinating, and I just loved that excerpt! Best of luck with your new book!

  6. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Susan, thank you! I loved being able to share some Canadian history in this book, it made it even more special to me. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks so much for you good wishes!

  7. Nice to see you here, Cynthia. Loved a bit of Canadian history. Thanks for stopping by to visit.

  8. No, I did not know about this bit of Canadian/Irish history. I guess most Canadians learn about it in school. It wasn’t part of my education that I can remember. I wonder if it’s in the Irish history books? hmmm
    Thanks for an informative post.

  9. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Caroline, it’s great to be back at Slip Into Something Victorian! So glad you enjoyed the history. I’m showing my Canadian pride here! 😉

  10. Cynthia Owens says:

    Julie, most Americans – and Canadians, for that matter – aren’t aware of this bit of history either. I certainly didn’t learn about it in school, even though Montreal has a HUGE Irish population. Our St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the biggest, and has run each year since 1824. I actually found an obscure reference to this “invasion” in a book I read ages ago. I don’t even remember the title, but I remembered the incident, and when I came to write my “rebel and the loyalist” story, I knew I’d finally be able to use it. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  11. Interesting. thanks for the info.

  12. Waving Cynthia. We’re so happy to have you visit today and with such an interesting story. The excerpt certainly makes for an interesting plot. I have always loved Canadian history especially after we visited our children when they lived in Ottawa. Good luck with sales!

  13. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Paisley, it’s lovely to be back. Glad you enjoyed my post. Though Irish history will always hold my heart, I do enjoy my own country’s history, so I jumped at the chance to use it. Thanks for the welcome and the good wishes!

  14. So nice to meet a “Montréalaise”! I don’t see much of us in RWA. Though I don’t live there anymore, we headed to South Carolina some years ago.

    Good luck with the book!

  15. Cynthia Owens says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Carole, and thanks for the good wishes!

  16. N C says:

    I have never heard about this, Cynthia. Can’t wait to mention it to Canadian friends and find out if they know about it. Best wishes for Keeper of the Light. I’ve enjoyed all your books

    Nancy C

  17. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Nancy, so glad you enjoy my stories, and my little bit of Canadian history! 🙂

  18. Lovely post, ladies. Cynthia, you certainly picked an exciting bit of history for your story. A refreshing change. Keep at that research! Best to you and your writing.

  19. Cynthia Owens says:

    So pleased you enjoyed the post, Pat. I knew the day I read about this bit of history that I’d one day have the opportunity to use it. I like to write about something a bit “different,” and I’m glad my publisher was open to it! Thanks so much for your good wishes!

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