Joaane C Parsons

"Outstanding, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking and heart-warming story of a little-known period in post-Civil War America".
Amazon Review
"Exceptionally well written, thoroughly absorbing, and consistently entertaining".
Diane Donovan
Senior Reviewer Midwest Book Review
"A tale of an Irish immigrant coming to Boston…buckle your seatbelt for an emotional journey back to the years following the Civil War".
Amazon review

Independent Publishers of New England

First Place 2018 Historical Fiction Award

Royal Dragon Book Awards

Honorable Mention – Historical Fiction

Independent Publishers of New England

Finalist – 2018 Fiction Award

Kitchen Canary

by Joanne C. Parsons

Book Synopsis

Kitchen Canary is a novel about the power of greed, the toll of guilt and shame, and rewards of reconciliation.


BOSTON 1868…In the post-Civil War era, Boston is bustling with change as wealthy Englishmen and Boston Brahmins expand world trade routes, build railroads, and develop land. Immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Poland, and freed slaves travel North to establish neighborhoods, existing in overcrowded, disease-ridden shacks and tenements. The only value they have to rich Bostonians is their willingness to work for little money performing menial or back-breaking dangerous jobs on the docks and building railroads.


Kitchen Canary follows sixteen-year-old Katie O’Neil who leaves Galway at the insistence of her parents to join her cousin, Moira Murphy, as a domestic for a family in Boston. In the post-Civil War era Irish domestics were often referred to as kitchen canaries and considered property by their employers. When the young women are abused by their greedy employer, Charles Brennan, their shame and guilt is so deep, they don’t confide their abuse to each other, until one becomes pregnant with Brennan’s child.

Kitchen Canary is the story of the plight of poor immigrants who suffer hate, humiliation, and rejection from the establishment. But it is also about the goodness of others, black, white, Irish, and English whose strength prevails to overcome evil and guide Katie and Moira to true redemption.

Amazon Reviews