Without the overwhelming documentation, this novel has as much verbatim honesty as Woodham-Smith's The Great Hunger (although Byrd considers an earlier work the definitive one) and its care and concern manifests itself quietly throughout. With the sighting of the first blackened ""praties"" in the noxious fog, there is little doubt what will follow for County Mayo and one Moira McFlaherty, only sixteen, in particular. While the rich sit down to the last of their claret and turnips, there's no food at all beyond the occasional hare or perhaps some rice from England for the McFlahertys. Moira's mother, ailing to begin with, dies; her Granny loses her mind; and her father is taken by the Black Plague. But Moira's a strong girl, sustained by her love for the less certain Liam who eventually takes off but returns. ""Night and morn, night and morn,"" a right kind of sentiment pervades and should make this negotiable in terms of a contemporary audience.