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The Golden Cross (Heirs of Cahira O'Connor) [Paperback]

By Angela Elwell Hunt (Author)
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Item description for The Golden Cross (Heirs of Cahira O'Connor) by Angela Elwell Hunt...

Aidan O'Connor was raised among pickpockets and prostitutes in a Dutch colony on Java, Indonesia. But when a world famous cartographer discovers her natural artistic talent, she is given a chance to leave her troubled life behind. Disguised as a boy, Aidan joins her benefactor at sea and begins the work of drawing the flora and fauna of the new world. This fresh beginning holds far more than adventure, however. It also holds a great love. But can this love survive the force of Aidan's past, and her ambitions for her future?

Publishers Description

A line of women who would be warriors for truth

“It is said that as Cahira, daughter of the great Irish king Rory O’Connor, lay dying of a wound from a Norman blade, she lifted her hand toward heaven and beseeched God that others would follow after her, bright stars who would break forth from the courses to which they are bound and restore right in this murderous world…”
To Kathleen O’Connor, Cahira’s story is nothing more than a charming legend—until her research divulges that several of Cahira’s heirs did, indeed, leave the traditional roles of womanhood to fight for right. Stunned, Kathleen realizes she herself bears Cahira’s mark. Is Kathleen destined to continue the legacy in the twenty-first century?
To discover how the histories of these women relate to her own future, Kathleen must delve deep into the past to learn the truth about The Heirs of Cahira O’Connor…
Aidan O’Connor
Aidan O’Connor was raised among pickpockets and prostitutes in a Dutch colony on Java, Indonesia. But when a world-famous cartographer discovers her natural artistic talent, she is given a chance to leave her troubled life behind. Disguised as a boy, Aidan joins her benefactor at sea and begins the work of drawing the flora and fauna of the new world. This fresh beginning leads her into adventure--and to a great love. But can this love survive the force of Aidan’s past…and her ambitions for her future?
Angela Elwell Hunt is the best-selling author of over sixty titles, including The Keepers of the Ring series, Legacies of the Ancient River, the award-winning picture book, The Tale of Three Trees, and Listening with My Heart, co-authored with Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995. Angela and her husband, Gary, live in Florida with their two teenagers.
The phone rang again, the fourth time. I skidded on the slippery tile as I rounded the corner, then nearly tripped over my mastiff, Barkly, who was cooling his two-hundred-pound carcass on the kitchen floor. Reaching over Barkly for the phone, I accidentally
tipped over the chipped mug that held a collection of kitchen implements. Amid a clattering of spatulas and wooden spoons, I jerked up the receiver. “Hello?”
“Miss O’Connor?”
Grimacing, I lunged over Barkly and bent to pick up a wooden spoon before he decided to chew it. Only telephone solicitors call me “Miss O’Connor.” I’d just destroyed my kitchen and nearly broken my neck for the chance to subscribe to Southern Fly-Fishing or prepay my funeral at cut-rate prices.
“Yes?” I frowned into the phone. “Listen, I’m really very busy—”
“I won’t take much of your time, Miss O’Connor.” The man sounded slightly apologetic. “But I’ve just finished reading your work, and I must say it surpasses anything I ever expected.”
My breath caught in my throat as I finally identified the voice. “Professor Howard? You read The Silver Sword?
“But of course, my dear.” I could hear a smile in his voice. “And I was most impressed by your scholarship and attention to detail. Your work seemed very precise, quite well documented.”
I clutched the telephone cord and leaned back against the counter, momentarily forgetting about Barkly, about the book I’d been reading, about everything. Professor Henry Howard liked my work! What had begun last semester as a silly little research paper on piebaldism—the condition that had produced a distinctive streak of white hair above my left ear—had grown into a major undertaking.
“Thank you, sir,” I stammered.
“I had no idea other such women had descended from Cahira O’Connor,” he went on. “How on earth did you find them?”
“I just typed the words ‘O’Connor’ and ‘piebaldism’ into an Internet search engine,” I muttered, stating the obvious. “And there they were, all four—Cahira, Anika, Aidan, and Flanna. Suddenly Cahira’s deathbed prayer made sense. She had begged heaven that her descendants might break out of their courses and restore right in a murderous world of men.”
“Incredible,” he murmured. “I was very impressed. If you had been my student, I would have given you the highest possible mark. The manuscript read more like a novel than a research project.”
“Well.” Completely at a loss for words, I shifted my weight and leaned against the counter. “Thanks very much, Professor. Praise from you is high praise. I appreciate it.”
Silence rolled over the phone line, and I could almost see the professor lifting his brow, tapping his pen on the desk, carefully choosing his words. “You mentioned in your cover letter that you plan to continue your research,” he finally continued. “Might we meet for lunch one day this month to discuss what else you’ve discovered? I’m curious to understand how the past might affect your future.”
“I don’t know that it will,” I countered. Ever since we met, I had been bothered by the professor’s vision of me as some sort of twenty-first century Joan of Arc. “I know you think I’m one of Cahira’s descendants, but I have nothing in common with either Anika of Prague or Aidan O’Connor.”
The professor politely ignored my protests. “You also mentioned my assistant, Taylor Morgan.” A teasing note had entered his voice. “He has read your work as well and would be happy to join us for lunch.”
A blush burned my cheeks at the mention of Taylor Morgan, and I was glad the professor couldn’t see me at that moment. Flush with the joy of completing a gigantic task, I’d been feeling a little bold when I wrote the cover letter and sent it with the manuscript of The
Silver Sword. I had hinted—rather strongly—that Mr. Taylor Morgan was exactly my type. My type of research assistant, that is.
“Um, sure,” I answered, wrapping the phone cord around my wrist. “I’m working part-time at the Tattered Leaves bookstore down on Sixth Street this summer. There’s a little coffee shop next door.”
“I know the place. Shall we say Friday, at one? I’d like to avoid the crowds if at all possible. And Mr. Morgan teaches until twelve thirty.”
“Friday.” I felt a foolish grin spread over my face. “Fine. And in case you’ve forgotten what I look like, I’ll be the redhead—”
“Miss O’Connor,” he said, his voice crisp, “I could never forget what you look like. Your red hair led me to you in the first place.”
They were waiting for me when I raced through the coffee shop doorway at five minutes after one. The professor rose and pulled out a chair for me, and Taylor Morgan stood, too, his blue eyes smiling at me from behind a pair of chic wire-rimmed glasses. He was wearing a cotton shirt and khakis, looking completely cool and elegant even in the city heat, and as I slid into my chair my mind stuttered and went blank. The sight of Taylor Morgan at close range could do that to any woman, I suspected, but he wasn’t about to be
impressed by my scholarship if I sat there and stammered like a star-struck schoolgirl.
So I looked at the professor instead. He was middle-aged, soft, and infinitely respectable, and nothing about him gave me the tingles—except the fact that he liked my work.
We exchanged polite hellos; then the professor asked again how I’d found the other descendants of Cahira O’Connor. “The Internet search engine I used picked up four references to ‘O’Connor’ and ‘piebaldism.’” I scanned the menu, decided on my usual tuna sandwich, and dropped the menu back on the table. “Each woman followed her predecessor by two hundred years, give or take a few. Cahira lived in the thirteenth century, Anika in the fifteenth, Aidan in the seventeenth, and Flanna in the nineteenth. All of them bore the O’Connor name, and all had red hair with a white streak above the left temple.”
The professor’s gaze darted toward the streak of white that marked my own hair. I sipped from my water glass, waiting for some kind of response.
“Do you plan to investigate these other women?” Taylor asked, his voice golden and as warm as the sun outside. “Will that work fit into your current studies?”
“I’ve already finished most of my research on Aidan O’Connor,” I answered with a shrug. “I’m an English major, so I’ll find a way to use everything I’ve learned. Or maybe I can talk to my adviser about setting up some sort of independent study.”
“It would be a shame to let such scholarship and hard work go unrewarded.” Taylor captured my gaze with his. “And I am eager to hear about the other women.”
“What I want to know, Miss O’Connor—” The professor lowered his menu, then folded his arms on the table. “—is what you intend to do about your own involvement in the lineage. You are an O’Connor, and you have the same physical characteristic that marked the others.”
“I have to admit that I’ve wondered about that.” Uneasiness crept into my mood like a wisp of smoke. “I think I am supposed to be the chronicler, nothing more. If God did answer Cahira’s prayer and her descendants are linked to me, then I am the only one with the resources to tell their stories. I have access to the Internet, I have a computer—such technology was completely unimaginable until this century. So I’m the one entrusted with telling the stories, with weaving the threads of history together.”
“For your sake, I hope you’re right.” Professor Howard’s hazel eyes clouded in an expression of concern. “Because if you’re not—well, I’d hate to think that armed conflict lies around the corner of the millennium. Didn’t all of Cahira’s descendants fight in a war or—”
I held up my hand, cutting him off. “That’s not quite right, Professor. Cahira didn’t say that her descendants would fight in wars, only that they would fight for right. Aidan O’Connor, for instance, didn’t go to war. In 1642 she was living in Batavia, a Dutch colony on the island of Java in Indonesia, and the islands were at peace.”
“How in the world did the descendant of an Irish princess end up in Indonesia?” Taylor’s blue eyes flashed with curiosity.
I took a deep breath as my gaze moved into his. At that moment Mel Gibson could have walked into the coffee shop and I wouldn’t have even glanced his way. “It’s a long story. If you have to rush off to another appointment, I probably shouldn’t even begin it.”
Taylor leaned forward on the table and clasped his hands. “I cleared my calendar for you,” he said, his voice low and smooth.
I vaguely heard Professor Howard say something about having a three o’clock dentist appointment, but his words barely registered. If Taylor Morgan was willing to sit and listen, I’d talk all day and into the night if he wanted me to. Such a sacrifice. Still, the man wanted to know…
“Okay.” I smiled at him. “But first I’d like a Coke and a tuna sandwich. Let’s order.”
Taylor lifted his hand to signal the waitress, and I pulled my notebook from my purse. While he and the professor ordered sandwiches and soft drinks, I studied my outline.
 “Okay, Miss O’Connor,” Taylor said as the waitress moved away. “We’re ready. Tell us how an O’Connor descendant ended up in the middle of the Pacific.”
“Aidan O’Connor wasn’t born in Indonesia,” I answered, setting my notebook on the table. “Her parents, Cory and Lili O’Connor, were as Irish as shamrocks, but they were living in England when Aidan was born. In 1632, when Aidan turned fourteen, her parents risked everything to escape the plague that killed over twelve thousand Londoners that summer.”
“The O’Connors emigrated?” Professor Howard asked.
I nodded. “Yes, to Batavia, capital of the Dutch colony in the Spice Islands. Many Englishmen fled London for the Caribbean, New England, and Virginia, but Aidan’s father longed for something different.”
“Wise move on his part.” Taylor shifted in his chair.
“Not really,” I answered, lifting my brow. “He died on the voyage. Upon their arrival in Batavia, Aidan and Lili found themselves with no patron, no resources, and no social welfare system in a colony that prided itself on industry and social order. Lili had to turn to the world’s oldest profession just to survive.”
“Prostitution?” The professor’s face twisted in dismay.
“She guarded her daughter,” I said. “But Lili became what the Dutch called a procuress—she procured whatever, ah, entertainment a visiting sailor might need in the port city.”
“Wait a minute.” Taylor held up his hand as the waitress placed a sweating soft drink in front of him. “You just said the Dutch were known for industry and social order. I can’t imagine their tolerating such a practice.”
“Batavia was like most other large cities: two very different worlds existed within it.” I took my drink and nodded to the waitress. “There was the civilized world where respectable folk lived and worked, and a darker world they largely ignored. Oh, every once in a while they’d send the sheriff ’s constabulary to round up the beggars, cutpurses, and drunks, but for the most part they enjoyed pretending that the notorious flophouses, musicos, and taverns did not exist.”
“So our Aidan lived in the underworld?” Professor Howard frowned in concern.
“Yes, and she might have remained there unnoticed,” I answered, “but everything changed one afternoon when Schuyler Van Dyck and his family went for a carriage ride along the waterfront.”

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Item Specifications...

Studio: WaterBrook Press
Pages   432
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.11"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 1998
Publisher   WaterBrook Press
Series  Heirs Of Cahira OConner  
Series Number  2  
ISBN  1578560438  
ISBN13  9781578560431  

Availability  0 units.

More About Angela Elwell Hunt

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt is the best-selling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and The Nativity Story. She has written over one hundred books in fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults. She and her husband make their home in Florida.

Angela Elwell Hunt currently resides in Tampa, in the state of Florida. Angela Elwell Hunt was born in 1957.

Angela Elwell Hunt has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Heirs of Cahira O'Connor

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Golden Cross (Heirs of Cahira O'Connor)?

Wonderful Series  Jan 9, 2007
This is a worthy sequel to The Silver Sword. Ms. Hunt's heroines are believable and inspiring. You can't put these books down. The historical aspects are fascinating. Buy the series - you won't regret it!
Excellent Historical Fiction Set in the 1600s  Apr 10, 2006

This is the second book in a four book series titled "The Heirs of Cahira O'Connor" (the first one, also excellent, is titled the Silver Sword). In this book Aiden O'Connor learns to survive and maintain her virtue when her father dies at sea, leaving her and her mother homeless and without money. Aiden, who has a God-given talent of drawing & painting, is given a chance to use her gift disguised as a boy on a ship. The story is an excellent example of how good overcomes evil and how one can rise (with God's help) above unfortunate circumstances.

The author does a thorough job of researching the culture of the Dutch in the time period, provides accurate details of water coloring & painting, and how life was typically lived on a ship in the 1600s.

It was a terrific book, as was the first one. I highly recommend them!

Awesome Book  Sep 27, 2002
This book surprised me! (in a VERY good way) I read the first book in this series, "The Silver Sword", and didn't think much of it so I wasn't really looking forward to reading this one so I was amazed when I couldn't pull myself out of this one. Some of the other reviewers said that the book captures your attention and you won't be able to put it down. This is sooo true! I found myself taking it everywhere with me so that I could read it, including the grocery store. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next with Aidan! So definitely read this book one and all and also check out my other reviews! :)
A Masterpiece  May 10, 2002
This book is engrossing, to say the least. Be prepared to lose hours of your time in order to finish this book. The book moves quickly, with secrets and dastardly plots. Aidan O'Connor seeks to escape her life in the slums by using her art. Her patron sees her talent and seeks to have it brought to the light of day.

The characters are rich and well rounded. The conversions and realizations of self are truly well written and believable. Personally, I like how the beginning and end of every book begins with Kathleen setting up the story, and then giving a postscript.

This is a wonderful book that can bring to life an entirely new world.

A Wonderful Book  Apr 8, 2000
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked it better than the first in the series, although that was good too. Stories about the sea always interest me and the book held my interest all the way through. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to paint as well. The character's faith in God was brought out through the whole book. I am looking forward to the third in the series.

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