Publication Date: September 19, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
The year is 1887 in Leeds County, Ontario. The O’Connor clan is gathering to mourn the loss of its patriarch Daniel O’Connor, an Irish immigrant. The story of Daniel and his wife Brigit is one of great hardships, including illness, ill-starred romances, war and political upheavals, as well as undying love and persevering faith. As Daniel is laid to rest, his grandson Fergus receives a piercing insight into what his own calling in life will be.
InterviewCW: Tell us why you choose to write.
EMV: I have been writing since I learned to put two sentences together. I started keeping a diary at age seven. Writing has always been such an integral part of my life; it hardly seems like a choice. It is just something I must do.
CW: “The Paradise Tree” has a very unusual setting. Tell us why you were drawn to Ontario.
EMV: I spent many glorious summer vacations in Ontario in the vicinity where the novel is set. It is a place of beauty and mystery as well as family memories and deep ancestral roots.
CW: Your website mentioned that you took a lot of pains to be authentic. What kind of research did that entail?
EMV: It entailed finding long lost fourth cousins who had family heirlooms and documents that would provide me with the detailed information. It is the little things that make a novel authentic. I spent time at the Brockville Historical Society searching through deeds and records that mentioned family members and their property. It meant interviewing some of my older relatives (now deceased) who had memories of the children of Daniel and Brigit O’Connor. I studied old photographs and old maps and read lots of rare, out-of-print history books.
CW: You’ve published several books, all in different eras. Do you have a favorite?
EMV: My personal favorite is Madame Royale, the story of the only survivor of the family of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
CW: Random question: If you could have a drink with a historical personage, who would it be?
EMV: I would love to share a bottle of wine with Louis XVI. The King read widely; I would have enjoyed talking about books with him.
Thanks so much for joining us, Elena!
Praise for The Paradise Tree
"With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes 'the past and present mingle and become one' for the reader’s great delight." --Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation
“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels
Buy the BookAmazon
About the Author
Elena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, "fair as the garden of the Lord" as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.
Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children's etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwords she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.
In November 2009, THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine, Touchstone Magazine, The National Observer, and The American Conservative. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. In August 2010 Elena spoke at The Catholc Writers Conference in Valley Forge, PA. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.
For more information please visit Elena's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Other Titles by Elena Maria VidalTrianon: A Novel of Royal France
Madame Royale: A Novel
The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars
The Paradise Tree Blog Tour ScheduleSaturday, October 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Sunday, October 5
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing
Monday, October 6
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, October 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, October 8
Review at West Metro Mommy
Thursday, October 9
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations
Friday, October 10
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Saturday, October 11
Interview at Supremacy & Survival
Sunday, October 12
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads
Monday, October 13
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Tuesday, October 14
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, October 15
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, October 16
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at She is Too Fond of Books
Friday, October 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Saturday, October 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, October 20
Review at Book Drunkard