Last of the Name is a well-researched story of an Irish brother and sister who have traveled to America to escape the Great Hunger of 1845. Their entire family has either perished or been sent to Australia, except for their grandmother who joined them on their trip to the U.S.A. Shortly before dying on the trip to the U.S.A, their grandmother gave them a family "treasure." Now the siblings have to make their way in the new world, which includes getting jobs, changing their names, and sadly for young Danny O'Carolan, pretending to be a girl. Though he hates pretending, he surrenders and gets a job as a washing maid, but he can't pretend for long. Soon he begins to run errands as a boy and earns a little extra money. Things seem to be going mildly well until the master of the house comes back and fires them. Homeless and unemployed once again, they are left with the clothes on their backs and their "treasure." Will the name "O'Carolan" disappear, or will this mysterious treasure be able to save them? Find out in Last of the Name.
Last of the Name is a well-researched and insightful story about the hardships of being an Irish Immigrant in the 1840s and 50s and the conflict between the African-Americans and the ever-growing population of Irish. The characters were real and touching. It was almost as if I could hear the tapping of Danny's shoes as he jigs and the sound of his voice as it floats through the crowded streets of New York City. The book was not overly long but was not lacking when it came to detail. Chapters were not long, and overall, the book flew by. The only thing I would like to see expanded on would have been more of the story behind the family they first served. This book has definitely found its place among my favorites.