EHFA: The Abduction of Anne O’Donel – Truth or Fiction?

The background to the recently published historical novel, The Abduction of Anne O’Donel, is outlined in a blog on the English Historical Fiction Authors (EHFA) website. It includes issues such as contemporary relevance and historical accuracy with links to key on-line sources that relate to the 1785 abduction of Anne O’Donel in Co Mayo, Ireland. The blog also features a biography for the author, Paul B McNulty.

"The Abduction of Anne O'Donel" by Paul B McNulty is published by Club Lighthouse CLP, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is also available on Amazon.

“The Abduction of Anne O’Donel” by Paul B McNulty is published by Club Lighthouse CLP, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is also available on Amazon.

Teresa Quinn interviews Paul B McNulty on “The Abduction of Anne O’Donel.”

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel was the subject of Teresa Quinn’s interview of Paul B McNulty on Liffey Sound 96.4 FM last Sunday. In a wide-ranging interview, Teresa explored the background to Paul’s second historical novel now available as an e-book on Club Lighthouse and as both an e-book and print book on Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Paul explained how his work was inspired by a genealogical study of the Anglo-Norman Lynches who settled in Galway. This led him to draft three historical novels, two of which have been published.

Later this year, he hopes to publish “The Bodkin Murders,” a story based on real events in mid-18th century Galway. Thereafter, he plans to write a play based on each novel using two male and two female characters in each case.

Paul was delighted to be invited onto Liffey Sound 96.4 FM, a Community Radio station since 2006. Based in Lucan, Co Dublin, Ireland, it is run by about 70 volunteers. It includes broadcasting hours of 4pm to 10pm weekdays and 8am to 10pm weekends.

Front cover of "The Abduction of Anne O'Donel" by Paul B McNulty.

The cover of a 75,000 word historical novel based on real events in late 18th century Ireland.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo where Anne O'Donel was imprisoned.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo where Anne O’Donel was imprisoned.

“The Abduction of Anne O’Donel” by Paul B McNulty

A beautiful heiress, a villainous lawyer, a scandalous abduction that shocks the country.

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel tells the story of a young heiress who refuses to marry the elderly Timothy Brecknock whom her father has chosen for her. Frustrated by her lack of interest, Brecknock abducts Anne to a remote island on Lough Conn hoping to win her heart with stories of romance, politics, Evangelicalism and alchemy. Believing that her secret betrothed, Jasper Martin, will find her, Anne plays a dangerous game as the story concludes with a murder, a famous trial and a wedding.

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel, is the second in a series of historical novels based on real events in late 18th century Ireland. It was a finalist in the 2013 William Faulkner Novel Competition. Three of its minor characters, Sibella Cottle, Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse and Ned Holian, will be familiar to readers of my first novel, Spellbound by Sibella.

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel is available as an e-book on Club Lighthouse Publishing, Canada and as both a print book and e-book on Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Front cover of "The Abduction of Anne O'Donel" by Paul B McNulty.

Front cover of a historical novel, a finalist in the 2013 William Faulkner Novel Competition, New Orleans.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo where Anne O'Donel was imprisoned.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo, Ireland where Anne O’Donel was imprisoned.

5 star review for “Spellbound by Sibella” by Paul B McNulty

I was pleased to receive a 5 star review for my historical novel, Spellbound by Sibella, from Jack Hudson on Amazon.com. It runs as follows:

Fascinating, scandalous….

The story of Sibella and Sir Harry is a fascinating one. The political implications, the intrigues, the pressure on the weak Sir Harry to marry an heiress and desert his true wife and children – great stuff. The gruesome witchcraft adds to the drama, and gives an insight into the lives of the common people. Indeed, a lot of the story’s interest lies in the sense it gives of fidelity to the society it depicts: it’s based on true events, even if one hopes it’s not all true.

Fascinating, scandalous, mostly authentic…

“Spellbound by Sibella” is the debut historical novel written by Paul B McNulty based on real events in late 18th century Ireland.

Mayor Noreen Heston launches “Spellbound by Sibella.”

Mayor Noreen Heston kindly agreed to launch my historical novel in Castlebar, Co Mayo where I grew up as a boy having been a past-pupil of both St Patrick’s National School and St Gerald’s College. Presiding over the launch were David and Kathryn Brennan of the Castle Book Shop on Wednesday, 20 November 2013.

Paul B McNulty, author of the historical novel “Spellbound by Sibella” is flanked by his wife, Treasa, on the left and by Mayor Noreen Heston, in the middle, who launched his book in the Castle Book Shop, Castlebar, Co Mayo on Wednesday, 20 November 2013.

 

The Flaying of Human Skin

The flaying of human skin, featured in a Whitechapel episode on ITV (18 September 2013), reminded me of the Judgment of Cambyses, an amazing 1498 portrait by Gerard David. It depicted the punishment of a corrupt Persian judge by flaying him alive. Now hanging in the Groeningemuseum in Bruges, the portrait was intended to remind the aldermen of the city to remain uncorrupted.

A different perspective arises in my historical novel, Spellbound by Sibella, where the skin of a human corpse has been flayed to make a powerful love charm. Known as the spancel of death, Alf MacLochlainn has described it as “an unbroken hoop of skin cut with incantations from a corpse across the entire body from shoulder to footsole and wrapped in silk of the colours of the rainbow and used as a spancel to tie the legs of a person to produce certain effects of witchcraft.”

Wrought by Witchcraft

The reputed spellbinding of Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, County Mayo, Ireland by his mistress, Sibella Cottle  has been described by Matthew Archdeacon and more recently by Paul B McNulty in his debut novel, Spellbound by Sibella.  Sibella used the spancel, a powerful love-charm to spellbind Harry circa 1780. Judy Holian, a reputed witch prepared the spancel using skin from the exhumed corpse of a young girl according to T H Nally.

Caesar Otway confirmed the use of the spancel to spellbind men through research in Belmullet, County Mayo. He found that three local girls made matches above their station when using a spancel cut from the corpse of a Trappist monk. Protestant girls ‘of a better sort’ also used a practice that may have originated in 16th century England.

Lady Wilde tells the story of ‘The Fatal Love-Charm’ in which a servant girl of modest looks spellbound her widowed master using a spancel. Exactly one year and a day after her marriage, the spancel was accidentally burnt in her wardrobe. The spell was broken. The master now hated her. Despised and isolated, she died half-mad before the year was out, a conclusion drawn by T H Nally for the fate of Sibella Cottle in his 1916 drama The Spancel of Death.

“Spellbound by Sibella” featuring Miss Constable by George Romney circa 1787, courtesy of the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.

 

“Spellbound by Sibella” (now published)

A penniless beauty, a rakish Baronet.  A scandalous affair that shocks a country.

Spellbound by Sibella by Paul B McNulty is now available as an e-book from Club Lighthouse Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Based on real events in late 18th century Ireland, the novel portrays the turbulent liaison between Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, Co Mayo and Sibella Cottle, a woman with spellbinding powers reputedly wrought by witchcraft.

This historical novel is downloadable to your computer, Kindle or mobile/cell phone for $5.99, using credit card or PayPal. For further information, click on Club Lighthouse Publishing and follow the attached image on its home page.

“Spellbound by Sibella” by Paul B McNulty is now available from Club Lighthouse Publishing, Canada.

 

Sibella Cottle and Miss Constable

Would you agree that Miss Constable by George Romney is a good representation of Sibella Cottle in my debut novel, Spellbound by Sibella asks paul.mcnulty@ucd.ie?

Miss Constable (1787) by George Romney, 1734-1802. (Original portrait in Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon)

Miss Constable (1787) by George Romney, 1734-1802.
(Original portrait in Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon)

 

 

 

Spellbound by Sibella by Paul B McNulty

Club Lighthouse will publish my debut novel, Spellbound by Sibella, as an e-book. But how does one organise a book launch for its release without hard copy? If you have any ideas please respond on my website or e-mail me at paul.mcnulty@ucd.ie. For the record, the novel deals with the turbulent liaison between Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, Co Mayo and Sibella Cottle, a woman with spellbinding powers reputedly wrought by witchcraft. Scheduled for release this autumn, the novel is based on real events in late 18th century Ireland. For me, it is a dream come through.