Guest Book

Welcome to our new guest book. Please send your comments to Cora Harrison.

Please post your Guest Book comments in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page. Comments are moderated, and will appear when approved. Thank you!

109 replies on “Guest Book”

Hi Cora! I just discovered you less than a week ago. I am really enjoying the Gaslight series. I am trying to find the fifth one in audio format but haven’t had any luck. Have you released the fifth one in audiobook yet? I have lupus which has caused damage to my eyes . I am excited to listen to Murder in the Mist. It’s a book emergency. Lol Please advise me on where I can locate it if it has been released yet. One more question…. Will you be writing more in this series?
Thank you
Kelly

Dear Kelly,
Thanks so much for your comments and I’m so glad you are enjoying the Gaslight series. I have just pressed my publishers on the audio book, but these things are quite out of my hands I’m afraid – and the same applies to more books in the series. I have many ideas for further books but am unable to make any promises!
Cora

May I add my voice to chorus of those dearly hoping that Mara may return in some form? I discovered her during the pandemic and she has been such a wonderful companion. I devoured the first books quickly and then realised I had better slow down, since I don’t want them to end…. The idea of Mara’s pre-story is a lovely one, but also following as she ages. If publishers are being difficult and not only not keeping them in print but refusing another, an e-book would still show up with the series on Amazon and find even more readers, which I hope may be an encouragement? I have been reading them on Kindle, even though I vastly prefer real books. But the Kindle has the advantage that the whole set can be taken anywhere! As a woman in her 60’s, I love the way that Mara is unapologetically, unperturbably, and beautifully her age through the books. I love how she takes joy in her garden, her sense of humour and keen appreciation of human nature, her tiny endearing vanities, and how she enjoys trying new things like olives and appreciates French wines. As a college lecturer and former teacher, I love her relationship with her pupils and how they keep her young. The law is fascinating and I have learned so much about the rationale and spirit of fine and honour-based law systems. Above all, the Burren is magical. My daughter and I spent a week in the Burren last summer, drawn by the books, visiting the Mara sites, and the bond we felt with the landscape was uncanny (I am of Irish-American ancestry). It is a shame that Irish television never picked her up (although of course screen conversions bring their own headaches for authors), so that your publishers would see sense — so much richer than Cadfael, in my opinion. The whole family is eagerly awaiting more Mara, by whatever means!

Thank you so much for your appreciative words. I would love to pursue with the writing of the Mara books. She is very real to me and I find this period of Irish history so very interesting.
Very best wishes,
Cora

Dear Mrs. Harrison,
To my surprise, you had no page on Wikipedia. So I wrote two:
In English:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cora_Harrison
And in Hebrew: https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%94_%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%9F

As you might notice, some crucial bio details are missing, such as your maiden name, your year of birth, and your free photo. Also, I tried to fit the puzzle pieces, but I might have made mistakes. It would be great if you could fix these.

With admiration,
Orna Agmon Ben-Yehuda
http://ladypine.org

Just read all six books of the London murder mysteries, I certainly didn’t want the series too end.

I live your Reverend Mother Series- I am about to start – The Deadly Weed!
My husband and I are in Ireland at the moment- we will be here 5 more weeks… we are staying in Valentia Island in Kerry. My parents were born here, and I have many cousins right here. We come every summer for 6 weeks.
I am planning a trip for a few days to Cork city- I want to see those things you reference in your books- the English Market, Patrick Street, the Gaol, … if you think of a few more, please let me know! I am hoping to book Imperial Hotel!…
Thank you for writing such a splendid series- I especially like the quotes from St Thomas!… thank you!

Thank you, Catherine!
Yes, I am hoping to do another Reverend Mother story this autumn.
I’m so pleased that you are about to visit Cork. I think it might be an idea to walk along Douglas Street as I imagine the Reverend Mother’s convent and school to be there, and also it’s where the slums used to be. And of course the Church of Ireland cathedral, the site of my book ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ is very worth a visit as it is a beautiful building.

I hope you have an interesting visit.
Thank you, again, for writing!
With very best wishes,
Cora

Dear Cora, I hope you dint mind me calling you by your first name. I was introduced to the Reverend Mother Series of books by a friend three years ago. I was able to get hold of some of the books through our library service but as we were going to take a city break in Cork I thought I’d get the whole series at a local book shop. To my surprise and frankly great disappointment the staff had never heard of the series and although helpful couldn’t find the books in their catalog. Since then we’ve visited Galway, Arklow and Dublin with the same result. I’ve now managed to get all ten, and I’m looking forward to others to come, on line albeit that they are ex library books. The good news is that our local Waterstones, in Horsham, West Sussex has one of them on the shelves so I’m hopeful of getting copies. Thank you for enriching my life with these wonderful stories. Me

Dear Ahmed,
I’m delighted that you like my Reverend Mother books. My portrait of Cork city comes mainly from surprisingly clear memories of the city when growing up as a small child during the 1940 and from stories told to me by a pair of retired and most garrulous uncles. My father was a solicitor with a business in the South Mall and he was actively engaged in the Vincent de Paul society whose members visited the poor and I distinctly remember many of his stories about the condition of families sharing rooms (a corner of a room for each family in many cases) in those tumble-down, four storey-high, Georgian houses. These stories are the roots of my Reverend Mother stores.

I’m glad you find them interesting.

Thank you for writing,
Cora Harrison.

I’ve so enjoyed the Burren books that my husband and I traveled to Ireland in May. We drove all through the Burren, walked a great deal, explored Poulnabrone, and visited with the park keeper. I would be so grateful, Ms Harrison, for a map of Mara’s world to lay beside a current Burren map. As a public historian, I’d love to envisage where the characters lived, worked, worshipped in relation to one another. I make one additional request, humbly: more novels please. I haven’t finished the series as it stands but am already dreading that day.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your imaginative, thought provoking historical fiction.

Such a wonderful letter. Thank you so much. Local history has been a great interest of mine from the time when I was a teacher and that interest intensified when I retired to a small cottage within a few miles from the Burren and began to investigate its past history and explore the beautiful country-side. The result was the Mara books and I am hoping to persuade my publisher that there is enough interest to warrant the publishing of a new set of Mara books.
And your idea about a map is inspirational!
I have plans to fill in Mara’s early days from when she graduated from her father’s law school and took over the business and I think that could work very well. ‘Mara’s First Cases’.
Thank you again for inspiring me and giving me the courage to embark upon a new set of book!
Cora

I read the first two books in the Burren series and I just finished the third, The Sting of Justice. I was telling my wife last night that I was nearing the end and I had mixed feelings. I was eager to resolve who killed the silversmith, but sad as the book came to an end and I had to leave these characters that I have come to love. Fortunately I know I have enough to keep me going for a while. I try not to read more than one a month to spread them out a bit. Thank you for writing these wonderful books. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I’m so pleased that you like the Burren books.
I did find it fascinating to research the history of the Burren and its school of laws, only a few miles from where I live. I think that I have material for many more books, but my publisher, at the time, felt that thirteen books were enough – though I did not agree!

Perhaps some day they will understand that there is a market for these stories.

Thank you so much for writing.
Cora Harrison

I’ve read the series and I would like to know what happens to Mara and Turlough. Since we know England took over Ireland during Henry 8, I want to know how that affects the King of the Burren and Mara. Will there be any more books about the Burren?

I have literally binges on the Reverend Mother series. The sense of the world of Cork in the 1920 is a context that translates across oceans. My one observation is the pictorial portrayal of Rev. Mother on cover. It is not a sister of Mercy habit which is very distinctive.

I’m delighted to hear that you are enjoying the Reverend Mother books. I enjoy writing them and almost imagine, sometimes, that the Reverend Mother is an esteemed colleague from the days when I worked as a headteacher and shared some of the problems that she spends her days solving.
I’m a little puzzled about your comment on the Sister of Mercy habit as it is just as I remember it and I have also checked on pictures from the 1920s. Perhaps the habit is different in the United States. I have seen very different habits worn by Mercy nuns who worked in India.
I will, however, have a word with the artist who designs the covers and see what he thinks.
Thank you again for writing. It gives me huge pleasure to hear from readers.

Dear Cora (if I may), I have today received a link to your website, specifically to an article on Ellen Ternan and her relationship with Charles Dickens. I was absolutely delighted to read that you believe Ellen to have been his illegitimate daughter, rather than his mistress. I too share that view, and I wonder whether you have seen my paper in the current (Winter 2022) edition of The Dickensian? In that paper I have set out a comparison between Ellen’s development from conception and illegitimate children in Dickens’s novels. Professor John Bowen made such a comparison, but used only one story, to wit, that of Bebelle in His Boots, the Christmas story for 1852. He used it to ‘prove’ that Dickens had fathered an illegitimate child with Ellen. I used the same logic, but applied the analysis to all of Dickens’s works. There are three major flaws in all the so-called research conducted by those scholars who have commented on Ellen. First, they have all started with the firm belief in the standard narrative about her being his mistress, and ha e set out to prove it; Second, they have ignored a basic rule of hermeneutics that one should never try to interpret any one novel in isolation from the whole canon of the author; and third, one should always be able to rule out any and all other explanations for the observed phenomenon. I believe that your analysis of A Tale of Two Cities supports my analysis perfectly, and between us maybe we can get people to reconsider their beliefs! If you would like to know more about my interest in Dickens and Ellen, including the monologue “Talking Head” I have written of Ellen telling her story, I
would be delighted to maintain some form of contact with you. I am afraid that living as I do in Melbourn, Australia, I am just a little out of touch with mainstream literature commentaries!
Very best wishes, Brian

Dear Brian,

It’s so exciting for me to hear from you! I had despaired of having any interest taken of what I felt to be a logical and reasonably well-argued conclusion that Ellen Ternan was his daughter, rather than his mistress . I am no Dickensian scholar, but a great fan since a very early age.

I’m just rushing to finish another one of my Dickens/Wilkie Collins crime novels, but would love to get in touch with you some time next week when, hopefully, this book is sent off.

And, of course, my third book about Dickens and Wilkie Collins in the ‘Gaslight Series’ ‘Summer of Secrets’ explores the possibility of Dickens meeting the daughter he did not know that he had, when he encounters an actress and her daughter at a charity performance in the home of his friend and fellow writer Lord Edward Bulwer-Lyton.

I have no academic knowledge of Dickens – my degree is in French and German – but a huge interest and have read as many books on him as I could find – my enormous copy of Peter Ackroyd’s biography is falling apart!

Many thanks, again.

Cora.

Admin adds: Cora discusses this insight into the secret life of Dickens in her commentary on Summer of Secrets here

I might add, a huge amount of the fables about the Ellen Ternan relationship consist of quotes supposedly from his daughter Kate, but in fact were at second hand, after Katey’s death, from the woman who had lived with her and who, by the time journalists had got onto her, was already in the early stages of dementia. They, of course, wanted juicy stories about Ellen Ternan and she obliged, especially as she was badly off and they were paying her.

Cora

Dear Ms. Harrison,
I heard about your Burren series in the New York Times (I think), as soon as I read one of the books – out of order – I was so hooked that I have been working my way through them (out of order!) since late January. I only have 2 left to go, and I am already wishing there were more. Mara is such a fully developed, complicated character – as are so many of the Burren characters – and as a retired history professor, I love learning about the history of medieval Ireland, which is very different from my own field of modern Middle East history. Question: will there be more Burren mysteries? If so, I can’t wait!

Dear Ms Fleischmann,

I’m so pleased to hear from you and to learn that you enjoyed my Brehon law books.
My father was at school and at university with Daniel Binchy who accomplished the wonderful work of translating the ancient Irish laws (from medieval Gaelic into Latin) and so he, my father, had a huge interest in Brehon law – an interest which he passed on to me during many country walks. I remember being fascinated by the intricacy and basic fairness of these laws and when I grew older, compared them favourably with English laws, especially where they were concerned with laws which gave equal status to women.

I would love to do some more of those books. Unfortunately my publisher at the time had a notion that thirteen books should be the maximum in any series of books.

I think that renewed interest, after that article in the New York Times, may help to change minds. Personally, I would love to write some more as I enjoyed exploring the character of Mara and researching the very interesting and humane decisions from the medieval Irish courts and, of course, it was wonderful to explore the ruins of a Brehon Law school only a few miles from where I live and to find, in the British library, some messages from the students there to their professor, including a cheerful and slightly cheeky ‘salutations!’ from a girl student named Sile (Sheila)!

Thank you, again, for writing.
Cora

Hello, Ms. Harrison,
I, too, recently discovered your books through the article in the New York Times Sunday Book Review by Tana French, which your reader, Mary Brown, referenced. I am now on my third Reverend Mother mystery and am enjoying them tremendously! I really appreciate the Reverend Mother’s capable, adroit, and common-sense approach to her sleuthing as well as to her role as religious leader. Patrick and Eileen are such well-developed, likeable characters, too. I’ve found the delineation of class tensions in each of the books to be very interesting, and the description of the differences in practice and outlook between the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland in the 1920’s, as outlined in “Murder in the Cathedral”, to be fascinating. Just wished to send a message of great appreciation for your work!

Thank you so much for such an appreciative message. I’m very grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to contact me.

I was born in 1939 and we moved to the city of Cork when I was three years old and lived there until I was fifteen. I have very strong memories of the city. My father was a solicitor from quite a wealthy family, but was president of the Vincent de Paul Society who did a lot of visiting the poor, bringing food, clothes and even toys for the children.

I remember very clearly his stories and I remember the appearance of the back streets where sometimes up to forty families could be crowded into a decaying Georgian four storey house. I remember once seeing rats on the steps to a house where ragged children sat and played.

I find that I rarely hesitate when writing about Cork. My own observations and the stories told by my parents, my uncles and aunts are still very vivid in my mind.

Thank you again for your lovely letter.

Cora

Dear Ms. Harrison, I just read “Summer of Secrets,” and I think you’ve cracked the mystery of Ellen Ternan. I’ve read several biographies of Dickens and have always wondered at this relationship with Nell. It makes complete sense that he was a father, belatedly taking care of a daughter and assisting her mother. Bravo!

Dear Cora, I have just finished your Burren Series and loved it! I hope you can get some more published! I had read in an interview you gave there was a possibility of a television series which would be wonderful! I so enjoyed Cadfael. Mara and Sr Fidelma would be wonderful additions they are both so interesting and exciting!
I am started your Reverend Mother series now. Thank you for such great stories!

Thank you, Kathy.
I loved the Brother Cadfael series also and so am very pleased with the comparison.
I liked Mara, but I think that the Reverend Mother might be a better and more realistic character.
I would love to know what you think about this when you finish your first book in the series.
Many thanks, again. It was so good of you to take the trouble to write.
Cora Harrison.’
P.S. Of course a T.V. series would be the answer to a dream! Do you know any film producers?

Dear Cora, I have finished the First Reverend Mother and now am reading “A Shocking Assassination. “ I am enjoying the series very much! You really keep me guessing as to the murderer!
If I make the acquaintance of any film producer I will definitely recommend your wonderful books! Ha Ha
Thank you!

Thank you, Kathy. I do enjoy constructing a puzzle as well as writing a story. I think my best puzzle is in ‘Death of a Prominent Citizen’. I hope nobody manages to guess that before coming to the last chapter!
My Reverend Mother, of course, worked it out!
Many thanks for writing,
Cora.

Here is a quote from a recent New York Times article ‘Read your Way Through Dublin’ by Tara French: “If you want glimpses into other parts of the country in different eras, Cora Harrison’s mystery series are fun, satisfying, Brother-Cadfael-style reads. “The Burren Mysteries” are set in 16th-century West Ireland, where Mara is an investigating judge in Ireland’s old Brehon law system. The “Reverend Mother” mysteries are set in the 1920s, against the backdrop of Ireland’s Civil War, with Reverend Mother Aquinas using her knowledge of every level of Cork’s intricate social hierarchy to solve murders. Harrison is great on historical detail and neat plotting.“. I hope this quote brings you many more readers! My father was taciturn man from the city of Cork. I’ve learned so much more about him—and the city— from the Rev. Mother series, which clarified a lot of his foibles. Looking forward to reading the rest of your books!

Thank you for drawing my attention to the comment made by Tana French.

I’m especially pleased and interested to hear about your father. Do you know what part of Cork he came from.

I think that it’s possible that many Irish people were conscious of a degree of shame (or even anger) that they were unable to make a living in their country and were forced into immigration.

Of course, it should have been the Irish government that felt shame!

I graduated in 1960 and I remember the night of the conferring dance that everyone of the new graduates were asking each other: ‘Are you going to England or to America ?’ No one had got a job in Ireland!

Hi. I found your books just last month at the local library. I love the way you keep the children and young people in the real world, not separating them artificially from the world of adults. It is perhaps also a function of the times that you write about. But your appreciation of, and insights into young people’s minds, creativity, perceptiveness and potential is something I absolutely cherish. The way you write about young people is a delight. You must have been an incredible teacher.

I don’t have children but both my parents were teachers and I am a lecturer. I have taught kids, looked after them and researched with them. When I read your books I feel that you’ve put into words what I always felt for young people. In a word where credentials are all important and the idea of a duty of care towards our young seems to have disappeared you bring me a lot of inspiration. I adored how you wrote about Sesina. Thank you for bringing Jimmy Eileen Cael and Cormac into my life.

And thanks for showing me the Irish point of view. I grew up in India and I have only lived in England for a few years. So your stories are a most welcome perspective and history lesson.

And finally I love your writing for bringing alive the stony terrain the misty valleys the damp mouldy windows and underground passageways.

I have had a tough time recently and your books are my sole tonic. Thank you very much.

dear Cora
I am in my eighties too, and Have just started the first Burren book. I have the second one ready as well.
I love the photos. I have only been as far north as Inverness. It’s a
long way from NSW Australia

Valerie

Hello Cora
I’ve just finished reading your book The Montgomery Murders. I love Victorian type murder mysteries and I really loved this book. As a child I remember the thick dogs we had. I remember mum making us wear hankies tied over our noses and mouths as we walked to school. So I can relate to the fog in this story because you couldn’t see anything. But thank you for this book I really felt the characters and just loved them and Mutsy that lovely old dog I am now off to buy another in the series. Take care and God bless

So happy to come across your Brehon Mara books! Very interesting with the history and times plus a mystery to solve & always a dramatic near end high drama. Are the quoted laws actual ones? If so, in An Unjust Judge, p. 147, Chapter 12, the quote is very apt for the times here in the USA re gun violence. Do Brethaib Gaire “It is the duty….the insane. With reference to the insane, there is also a duty of care to the people around so that none may be injured.” A man in Illinois bought his son guns, despite his son having threatened to kill himself & his family! Perhaps we need to share the Do Brethaib Gaire more widely.-910-891

Dear Rosemarie,

Like you, I find Brehon law fascinating, and so relevant – no need to make any laws up, they are here and available due to the hard work and depth of knowledge of those who translated them from medieval Gaelic into modern English. Every law quoted in my books is correct and authentic and although Mara is fictional, women did hold that position – some were quite famed as outstanding lawyers
You and I think alike. I have always found it fascinating that the clan – the wider family group of aunts, uncles, cousins, even grandparents – had to bear the responsibility, moral and financial, for the behaviour and crimes of an individual. I could imagine that most problems with adolescents might be solved. Like you I am appalled at parents putting a lethal weapon into the hands of a boy with problems!
Thank you for writing. I did so enjoy producing these books and the research was fascinating – I’d say that I have material for a hundred books!

Best wishes,
Cora.-910-891

You are so great for responding to these posted messages, great idea to have a guest page! My mother will be 82 next week, and I am here helping out as needed. I do love your books, especially the Burren ones. Will share more with my friends and colleagues.

I have just finished reading The Montgomery Murder and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it, I am looking forward to reading others in the series.
Can I just say thank you for taking the time to write these stories.-910-891

I’m so glad that you like it, Wayne and glad that you plan on reading the others. It’s good that you read the Montgomery Murder first as this gives the background information. It’s quite a while since I’ve written these murder mysteries – and I’ve written over sixty books altogether – so I am not sure whether I explained that these were inspired by a real family of some boys, living in the time of Charles Dickens, whose father and mother were dead and so the eldest organized his brothers into a choir and took them out singing every day in the streets of London so that he could get enough money to pay the rent and to feed himself and his mother.

Unfortunately my publisher of these books went out of business, but some time I would like to find another publisher and carry on with the series. I’ve got lots of ideas and it would be interesting to see how they progress as they get older.

I’d love to hear from you again, if you can spare the time.-910-891

Cora, Will you be writing anymore Reverend Mother books being the last one “Murder In An Orchard Cemetary”-910-891

Dear Cora, We are producing a history of Selsted School and wanted to know if you’d mind us using your website photograph on our page of past headteachers?
Kind regards
Kevin Bailey

Please do use the photo. I’m delighted to be associated, even in a very small way, with the project. Please get in touch if I can help in any way.

I hear you still have ‘Hawkes’ in the school. I taught about five of their uncles and aunts! I’m still in touch with their grandmother – she is one of my best friends so if you need any help you can contact me through her!

Good luck,
Cora

Good morning, Cora,
I recently picked up, just by chance, one of your books from the library – Summer of Secrets which I enjoyed thoroughly. I read that you are a retired teacher which is quite a coincidence as I just recently (November) retired from my 20-year teaching position. I began a children’s novel about 10 years ago and am excited to return to this work. After reading Summer of Secrets and knowing your background, I am motivated and inspired to move toward the completion of my dream. I did want to ask if you might share some tips and hints that you feel most influenced you in your writing career. I would love to hear from you. Thank you so much for your time.

I think that I got into writing by starting with children’s books. I reasoned that when it came to writing for adults, I only had my own taste and that of friends and relatives, whereas with books for children – well I had taught hundreds!

My only useful piece of advice is that once I get my idea settled in my head – that I know where I want to start and I know where I will end up – well then I am very disciplined and work at it every day. I draw up a schedule – date – aim – 1500 words a day – achieved. That keeps me ploughing on and it does give a sense of achievement when I register my daily 1500 words.
Good luck!

Cora, Will you be writing anymore Reverend Mother books being the last one “Murder In An Orchard Cemetary”-910-891

Yes, indeed. Have just, five minutes ago, finished editing ‘MURDER AT THE CATHEDRAL’ and have dispatched it to my publishers.
And, I have started upon the book after that – not sure about the name yet.
Thank you for writing. I do hope that you like the ‘Orchard Cemetery’.-910-891

Chapter One
Monday

‘SHE’S GORGEOUS, SAYS DIRECTOR!’ screams the billboard outside the newsagent shop in the main street of Castletown.
‘CASTLETOWN YOUNGSTER IN HIT MOVIE!’
‘LOCAL GIRL WOWS THEM IN LONDON!’ – the billboards outside the Spar Shop. There is a newspaper on the stand and I can see my name. ‘A fresh new talent…Agents queue to sign up beautiful young Fern Hamilton…’ The words jump out at me and I move away from the notice in the window quickly in case someone spots me staring at news about myself and start to run down the street. No more newspaper shops down this end, I think.
‘CASTLETOWN IS PROUD OF OUR FERN’ says a hand-lettered notice in the window of Morelli’s Ice-Cream Parlour.
I just stand there staring until the big black letters start to blur before my eyes. I’m dead tired. I only had six hours’ sleep last night as the plane from London was delayed by three hours. I’m a week late for the first day of secondary school –that couldn’t have been helped because of having to attend the opening night of the film and all the rehearsals – but I’d been hoping that I could creep in and get lost somewhere. No hope of that now!
My phone rings. I take it out of my pocket. There’s a text message on it. it’s from Jessica wishing me good luck.
For a moment I wish she had rung and that we could chat but I knew that would have been too expensive and she may not have been allowed to chat on the phone at this hour of the morning anyway. Jessica is in an all-Irish-speaking boarding school at the other end of the country and the rules there are very strict. I think about telling her about the billboards but I haven’t the time so I just type in a thank-you message.
The clock on the main street is now showing 8.55. It should be safe to go into the school now. I daren’t be late, but I don’t want to be early either. With a bit of luck Zara and her friends won’t be in the playground.

Click here for the full chapter

Hi Cora
I am a primary school teacher in east Clare, looking to get an author in to help the children in our school and inspire them with their writing. We would love for an author to come in and stimulate the children with how characters are created, how a scene is set etc and get them writing. We have had interest, but only via zoom sessions and we are reaching out to local [kinda of !] authors to see if they might be willing and able to come into the classroom. Your books are really interesting,and I think children have had enough of online lessons.
Please let me know if you are available and interested in working with 3-6th classes for a few weeks this November.
Yours sincerely

Sorry, Karen. I’m too far into.my eighties to take up classroom work again!
And, of course, I no longer write books for children – not for then last ten or eleven years!
Good luck with your search.

Dear Cora,
I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful example and for your encouragement when I was very young. I found your website over fifteen years ago after reading your Drumshee Chronicles, and your support and encouragement on the children’s website helped to fuel a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling. Thank you for all that you do, and I am so excited for the day that my two little ones will be old enough to enjoy your stories!

Dear Bridget,
Thank you for a most heart-warming note. May I wish you great happiness with your little ones.

Chapter One
Monday

Dear Teacher of Eve and friends;

Well, I’ve eventually found my sketch for chapter one of book 2, which I named TWICE AS GORGEOUS’

Would you like me to give you the first paragraph of it? I can put it on this Guest Book.

Best wishes,
Cora Harrison

That would be fantastic Cora.The girls have already voiced their own ideas about what shape the sequel should take.It would be great to read your first chapter. It will be a marvelous writing exercise for 6th.
Thank you
Elaine( 6th class teacher)

Hi ya I told my teacher about it today she thought that is was great and the whole class was really excited when your ready you can send me or my teacher the outline and we are delighted 😁 (Sorry if I dent this twice I don’t know if the first one sent)

Dear Cora, I am ready your book Gorgeous in school with my teacher and class mates. My teacher and two of my class mates have wrote to you already. But I am writing to you today to ask where do you go to get inspiration for your books? I was also really disappointed to find that you have no time to make a sequel but that ment that I almost jumped out of my seat when I found out that you wanted OUR class to write what we think the sequel should be like when you give us the outline. Once again I just want to say I love your book gorgeous and can’t wait to get writing. Yours truly Sophia

Hi cora I am reading your book gorgeous with my teacher and classmates it is on eof the best books I have ever read or listened to I was so exited to hear that you wanted our class to write a sequel to gorgeous I am so exited and when I am reading gorgeous I feel like I am one of the characters it’s amazing
Yours sincerely Leah

Hi Ms Harrison I love your book gorgeous we are reading it in school my teacher and a girl in my class texted you I can’t wait to do the sequel please write a part two bye

Hi Cora,
I am currently reading GORGEOUS to my 6th class and they are really enjoying it.Is there any way they can contact you to ask questions.It would be great for them to hear from the author. You used to have a children’s guest book.Is this still up and running?

Yes, I used to love my Children’s Guest Book but, unfortunately I am really busy now.
How about dividing the class into four, or even six groups, and then sending the question which they have agreed upon to this website? I’ll do my best to answer as soon as possible.

Dear mrs Harrison,I’m wondering if you will do a sequel on your book gorgeous.It is my most favourite book ever. we are reading it in school and we are on around chapter nine i don’t want it to end honestly

Oh, Eve, I would so love to do it. In fact, I have a whole storyline mapped out and I think you would like it.
The problem is that I have three books for adults which my publisher wants me to write – and has paid an advance for so I can’t see myself getting the time.
Unless I had lots of help! How many in your class?

And, more importantly, how many would be willing to write a chapter, or even a few pages, if I gave you the outline of the story?

Hi ya I told my teacher about it today she thought that is was great and the whole class was really excited when your ready you can send me or my teacher the outline and we are delighted 😁

Hi, Cora. It’s wonderful to read these letters and replies. You were an important Muse to me over the last seven years. I did finish the film,
Burren Girl (in which you appear several times) and it has shone at film festivals, mostly in the U.S. We will have an Irish premiere 4 may, 2022, 8 pm at Hotel Doolin. You are warmly welcome. Egerton 88 ended up center stage in this documentary. I treasure our conversations about Donal O’Davoren.
Forever thanks and kindest wishes!
I’m so glad you continue to write!
Rita Davern
p.s. I will bring or send you a DVD.

Lovely to hear from you, Rita. It will be a great treat to see the film and to see proper recognition of the part played by the O’Davoren law school in preserving Brehon law.

I think I said to you once that it was one of my most cherished moments to have touched and looked through the Egerton document, the British Library, written by the students at the law school.

By the way, have you seen one of your relatives, in America, has been in touch with me? I hope he looks again and sees your exciting news.

Dear Mrs. Harrison, I enjoyed your Burren series so much and was delighted to discover your Reverend Mother series and just finished the sixth one. Your chapters always opened up with a quote, but this time did not. I enjoyed them. Have the quotes been discontinued?

Dear Mrs Sullivan,
First, I must apologise for the delay. I’ve just got a new puppy, an eight-year-old Golden Retriever and everything is topsy-turvy. I start a job and then there is a crisis!

Yes, I enjoyed resurrecting my Latin, but, unfortunately, it began to get harder and harder to find appropriate quotes from Aguinas. I do hope that you will continue to enjoy the books, nevertheless.

My own favourite, at the moment,is Book 9, ‘Death of a Prominant Citizen’, but you may not agree.

Thank you so much for writing.

Hi.
I would like to know if there will be more Hugh Mac Egan books? It’s been four years since the first.
Thank you for your writings! Enjoying them!

I would love to write some more, but unfortunately, soon after this book was published, the History Press was sold and the new owners decided to stick to non-fiction.
I was very disappointed as I had planned a series and loved writing about Hampton Court and the Tudors.
Thank you for writing and I’m glad that you enjoyed the first book.

Dear Cora,
I am several chapters into my first one of your books – An Unjust Judge – and enjoying it immensely.
I feel that I may have a unique perspective on this work as I grew up in a house called Knockfinn in Ennis – named after the Law School that is central to this work.
I will reach back to you when I have finished it.
Best wishes,
Nigel James Boetius MacClancy
(Now living a little further west – outside Boston, Massachusetts!)

I’m honoured to hear from a Boetius MacClancy.
You might be interested in this from my notes:
Cnoc Fionn (Knockfinn in Tuath Ghlae, Killilagh parish) in west Clare appears to have been the chief dynastic seat of Síol Fhlannchadha.20 It is from this branch that the notable Boetius Clanchy, supporter of Gaelic loyalist Donough O’Brien, fourth Earl of Thomond, descended.21 Boetius (Baothgalach) of Cnoc Fionn achieved notoriety by his attacks on Armada survivors and his correspondence to Sir Richard Bingham, written from the fields of Liscannor in Co. Clare in September 1588, provides a first hand account of Spanish ships off the Co. Clare coast.22 Boetius was of a long line of ‘law-ollamhs’ and he himself was noted by the Irish annals as fluent in Irish, Latin and English.

I wonder how many of the present generation are fluent in Irish, Latin and English.

Dear Cora,
I appreciated your response and the rest of the book. Just finished it – on a rainy and cold summer day that would be familiar to all in north Clare – here at my sister-in-law’s cottage on the shore of a lake in southern Maine.
Thank you also for sharing your notes. I was generally aware of my notorious namesake who ‘welcomed’ the Spanish who were shipwrecked off the Clare coast. I did not know of his account of the sightings from Liscannor.
Speaking for myself – this Boetius does speak English, has secondary school Irish, did study Latin and has a credible grasp of French!
Best wishes, I will look forward to reading the rest of the Burren Series.
NJBM

Just finished writing my fourth volume of Wilkie Collins/Dickens series. It deals with the spring after the ‘summer of the great stink’ when the smell from the river Thames was so bad that the House of Commons, at Westminster, had to hang linen curtains, dipped in vinegar, at the windows in an attempt to block the smell. And, more seriously, huge numbers died of cholera from the polluted water. I was prompted to write this story by reading about the engineer, Joe Bazalgette.
My book also deals with the sensational story of how Wilkie Collins rescued his mistress Caroline and her little daughter and I hope will prove an interesting and engrossing read.

Hello – I have read all your Burren novels and absolutely loved them…so it was with great disappointment I started reading The Hampton Court Mysteries .
The ebook is full of typos : sewer instead of server …serjeant instead of sergeant
Even worse some times it is spelt serjeant and sometimes sergeant.
It is very distracting and hard to read – I was unable to finish the novel.

Please write more Burren novels

Thankyou

I’m so pleased that you like my Burren books. My publisher felt that there were enough in the series and sales had begun to fall so the decision was taken to stop them. However, I’m sorry as I did enjoy writing them.

I’m wondering whether you have an unapproved ebook of The Hampton Court Mysteries. These are made by scanning a hard copy and are usually full of mistakes, such as rv can turn into a w etc. Over the years there have been lots of occurrences of this, especially with my London Murder Mysteries. It’s infuriating, as you can imagine. Not only do I lose royalties, but also reputation if it is too bad.

However, some errors may be me! I write very quickly and I do make typos and rely on the editor to spot them. The sergeant serjeant may be me as Dickens always spells the word with a j.

Thank you for going to the trouble of writing.

i love the Burren series. But please, you can’t have a Bramley Apple in 16th century Ireland. The first Bramley tree was grown from seed in Nottinghamshire in 1809.

Dear Cora
How are you, hope you are well. I’m teaching 5th and 6th class in Clonfert in East Galway, we’re a small school and have read 2 of your Drumshee books this year, famine secret and titanic voyage. We read the last one during lockdown and today I’ve asked them to write you a short letter, I’ll pick a couple to send onto you by posting here or by email whichever suits best. Do you by any chance do zoom class visits or school talks or anything like that? I’m sure they’d love to hear from you if you did but no worries if you can’t, we really enjoyed reading both books.
Thank you, Kind regards
Niall Kelly Clonfert NS-910-891

Thank you so much for your letter. How wonderful to have people still reading those books which I wrote about twenty to twenty five years ago. Your pupils might like to know that ‘Drumshee’ though an imaginary name, is a real place. I live in the cottage that I write about in those books, and only this afternoon I spent a couple of hours clearing weeds from the passageway that leads up to the fort where Nuala, in the first book, lived with her family.
Would it be possible to put your pupils’ comments, questions on to this guestbook? I don’t like to put my email address in case spammers get hold of it! I will reply, tell them.

yeah ! i finally found ur site !! i have read ur burren mysteries, mother superior & now the gaslight mysteries. when i visited ireland i took a bus trip 2x (once with my grand daughter erin) to the burren area. i tried to imagine how life was when the legal system was irish & women were honored. my children’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name was harrison & my oldest son spent time visiting her cousin in ireland. i am soooo pleased that u r still sharing ur writing talent with we readers. thank you. marilyn, whose maternal grandfather james murphy came from doonane, county clare.

So you are from the Tipperary side of County Clare. That’s nice. I love Clare so much. It’s my adopted county, but I was born in Cork, and my father’s family, zMockler came from Tipperary.

Yes, Brehon law is so marvellously intriguing and yes, women were so valued and on an equal standing to men. It’s amazing to think that in the time of Dickens a man had complete control over his wife’s money and property, whereas hundreds of years earlier in Ireland a woman could be a judge, and, indeed, a blacksmith as I found when looking up ‘honour prices’
It makes one proud to be Irish.

Thank you for your reply, so packed with incredible information! I ran to the library yesterday to look for more of your novels…before we went back into lockdown. I grabbed the only one on hand, “Beyond Absolution” (so off on another of your paths!) but I’ll request “My Lady Judge.” 🥰-910-891

Well, you may, or may not like this. It’s on a very different track.

I was born and brought up in the city of Cork, born in 1939 to fairly middle-aged parents, especially my father Who was five years old when Queen Victoria died. He was at university during the War of Independence and worked as a solicitor in Cork during the Civil War which resulted from the unpopular division of the six counties of Northern Ireland from the rest of the country and as I was growing up he told me many stories about these troubled times – and these have gone into my Reverend Mother Series.
He was a great communicator and I owe my interest in the Brehon Law to him. He was a friend, and had been in school with Daniel Binchy who was the first to translate early Irish law, Brehon law, from its original Gaelic.

I’m writing to thank you for this intriguing novel, “Deed of Murder” the first of your Burren series I’ve read. It was poignant to revisit the Burren in my mind, as it was top of list on my first visit to Ireland 15 years ago. I wish we’d had the chance to meet then! Maybe on my next trip. I’d love to learn more of the Breton laws and the Irish language. Many thanks, again.-910-891

I found Brehon law to be hugely exciting and when we moved from England and bought a little farm, quite near to the Burren, I was astonished to find the remains of a law school quite near by, which had been in operation only a few hundred years ago – astonished because I had always believed that Brehon law belonged to somewhere around the time of St Patrick and here was a law school in operation at the time of King Henry VIII of England and up to the time of his daughter Elizabeth. And I went to the British Museum in London and found the actual law documents copied by the students with jokey comments in the margin. Even one signed Sile (Sheila) so there was a girl there!
And so the germ of an idea began to grow in my mind…
You might be interested to read the first book: ‘My Lady Judge’
Thank you for writing. Lovely to hear from you.-910-891

Hello from New Zealand. Our local library had you latest book Summer of Secrets on display so thought i would have a look, Really enjoying it. However I would point out that on page 43 Maguire is requested to “telephone for the doctor”. Bell didn’t get a patent on the telephone till 1876 and Dickens died in 1870! Perhaps send for the doctor. Can go in the reprint.-910-891

Thank you for this. How stupid of me! I can’t believe that sneaked through since I pride myself on being a historian!

What did you think of my theory about Ellen Ternan? Did you think that I proved my point?-910-891

Well I’ve finished the Sumer of Secrets and really enjoyed it. It took me longer than normal as i had not realised (with exception of Dickens) that these were real people so ended up researching them as well. This added to the enjoyment of the book. Regarding your hypothesis on Dickens daughter, you make a good case. True or not, we don’t know but I’d be inclined to agree with you Something else you may want to consider for your reprint, Page 140. Station staff offer to arrange a taxi? Perhaps a hackney cab or maybe a Hansom cab and on page 170 the inspector talking from his notes talks about “broken plates, pistol, phone call”. Having said all this I repeat I really enjoyed the book and I’ll look for more of your work in our library. Finally, thank you for engaging with me. I appreciate it.-910-891

I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it and that you thought my reasoning worked out!

This is the third of these Dickens & Collins books that I have written. The first was based on the murder of a real girl who was expelled for bad behavior from a charity cottage that Dickens set up to give a new start in life to girls who were coming out of prison, mainly for prostitution and theft. His idea was to train them in housework and then pay for them to emigrate to Australia.
Worked out in some cases, but not in others! Many of the girls missed their life on the streets.

I’m now writing the fourth book of this series. Not sure whether I shall go on or not. It’s more difficult than I am imagined to write about real people and to get their tone right. I have another series about the city of Cork in southern Ireland (where I was born and lived until I was 21) and I think I find that easier and more enjoyable to write. And my earlier series about early Irish law and the beautiful Burren where I now live is very close to my heart.

Thank you so much for writing. It makes such a difference to a writer to get feedback. I’m very grateful to you.

Thank you, also, for spotting errors that need to be corrected. You would make an excellent editor!-910-891

Hello Cora,

I just wanted to send you best wishes and hope you are keeping well, especially during these times. I hope everything is well with you and your loved ones and that you are all keeping safe and in good spirits. I used to send my writing in to your story club many many years ago. I think I was about thirteen, so about eleven or twelve years ago! I was a very shy girl not sure of myself at all and no self confidence. To receive your feedback and encouragement meant the world to me and still does. I absolutely loved your novels, I have a lot of them here with me at home. Your confidence in me pushed me to go forward and continue to write. I’ve now been published a few times here and there and writing a novel now. I wouldn’t have had the self belief if it weren’t for your kind words. So, thank you. I really wanted to reach out to you and say just that. I have always admired and respected you as a writer and your willingness to inspire others is truly a gift. All the best to you.

I am so very pleased to hear this. The story club was a source of pleasure and admiration to me and it’s great to know that it may have been of use to others.
I wish you all the luck in the world with your writing,
Cora

Dear Cora,

I’m sorry I don’t have a question, but I wanted to reach out and say hello, and that I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well in these difficult times. You probably don’t remember me, but I used to post on the story board when I was a child with a love of reading and writing. I stopped writing for fun when I went to college and started working, but the one fortunate consequence of this pandemic for me is that I’ve now been reunited with it, and I’m working on what I hope will be a novel. I’m delighted that you are still writing and I’m excited to read your newest releases. The Drumshee series is so sentimental to me – I still have all of my old copies! They sparked my imagination and encouraged a fascination with Irish history that I still have today.

When I used to send you my own stories on the storyboard, you were so kind to take the time to read them, and I just wanted to say that your kind words of encouragement had such an impact – I think of them often, more than ten years later. Thank you.

Dear Kristine,
It’s lovely to get your letter. It brings me back to the good old days of ‘Drumshee’.
Yes, I’m well thank you and still living in the same old cottage which was home to so many ‘Drumshee’ children.
And when I want exercise in these lockdown times I climb the hill to the fort which is on top of a little hill (Drumshee – the hill of the fairies) – behind the cottage and which was home to Nuala and her Wolf.
Good luck with your novel!
And thank you so much for writing,
Cora

Dear Mrs. Harrison, I wonder if you would consider writing a sequel to Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend? I enjoyed it so much(and Jane Austen Was My Best Friend was really great as well). I know Jane/Jenny Cooper died 7 years after she could married, but she’d still have 7 years to tell all about married life-or you could have Jane Austen write it, kind of like a memoriam. Either way, I loved how the books were both informative, VERY romantic and had an amazing plot…

Dear Julia,
That’s a great idea and I’d love to do that. Jenny is more my own creation than Jane as I had to be very careful to keep to what is actually known about Jane Austen, but little is known about her cousin, the other Jane, whom I ‘christened’ as Jenny, which I think is a pretty name. And i am very fond of Jenny.
Thanks for writing,
Cora.

Nice to have a new guestbook up and running. Am looking forward to hearing from those who enjoy my books and from those who have a question.

Hi Cora,
I am currently reading GORGEOUS to my 6th class and they are really enjoying it.Is there any way they can contact you to ask questions.It would be great for them to hear from the author. You used to have a children’s guest book.Is this still up and running?

Hi Rosemarie! I saw that you too have an interest in Brehon Law. If you haven’t already, you might want to read the Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne. I have read most of them but not all because he hasn’t finished the audio versions of the last few. I have lupus which has caused some damage to my eyes . I am not totally blind but I have to baby my eyesight. Anyway, I think you will thoroughly enjoy the Sister Fidelma series. What makes it all the better is that there are 35 books in the series!

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