Peter Maher, born in London in 1947, has been a teacher, High School Principal, University Researcher, and Educational Consultant to UK Governments and large commercial companies. He is a published non-fiction author with books based on his work in Education. His greatest passions though have been for the arts and his search for his ancestral roots. That latter exercise has uncovered missing relatives, half-sisters and cousins all across the world.
Finding Annie: Travels with My Great Aunt – from Tipperary to Trenton N.J.
Peter’s debut novel, Finding Annie, flows from his research into his grandparents’ generation and he has turned the story of just one of those siblings into a compelling roller coaster ride of the loves and lives of a remarkable woman
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Finding Annie is a fictional tale but based on the true rags-to-riches story of a young Irish girl escaping the poverty of post–Potato Famine Ireland. Annie Elizabeth Maher ends up in the service of one of the wealthiest and well-connected families in New York. She mixes with artists, politicians, and wealthy business people and travels the world with her mistress, Georgiana. After Georgiana dies young, Annie retreats to make a new life in Long Branch, New Jersey. A successful and philanthropic woman with a portfolio of seven properties in 1900 is a rare event, let alone one who has emerged from poverty in Ireland. Nonetheless, she makes her mark on this seaside town and lives happily. However, she is arrested in 1924 and is committed to Trenton Asylum as a lunatic—was this a conspiracy to bring her down or an intolerance of female success? Of her time in Trenton under the now infamous Dr. Henry Cotton, how will this megalomania in medicine impact on her life?
Reviews of Finding Annie:
“Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is the depth of historical scholarship and research that allows Annie’s story finally to be told. For that alone, the author is to be congratulated particularly in the current era when immigration restriction is a mantra among the uninformed. Watching a young woman take her life in her own hands more than a century ago by melding personal ambition with the fortuitous beneficence of a young employer gives the reader an opportunity to watch a Pygmalion story slowly unfold.”Professor Gilbert Honigfeld, Princeton University, New Jersey, U.S.A.
“That is a truly remarkable book. I finished it in one sitting yesterday which is how I think it should be read to get the full impact of the changes in Annie’s life. And even then I kept dipping back into it to check on details, as so much happened. It was a very rich novel. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the scene where she’s placed in that chair, knowing what was going to happen – enrichened perhaps by my own experiences! I had to stop reading for a moment before I could face it. I know I shall read it again, though not for a while so that I can get the full impact once again.”Janet Johnson, Perth, Western Australia, (Janet happens to be Peter’s long-retired school English Teacher)
“Finding Annie is a remarkable story revealed by the author through his meticulous family research. It is a fascinating and personal insight into a life that spans political and social history in Britain and America. Annie’s story, with its intriguing highs and lows, deserves to be celebrated.”Dr. Chris and Mary Ayling, Ennerdale Bridge, Cumbria.
Peter Maher’s other publications are text books on educational management, and various contributions to academic journals
Child Abuse- The Educational Perspective
Leading a Pastoral Team
Literary Festival Appearances: Hay Festival
Pitch to Publishers & Festival Organisers:
This novel has proved to reach a number of different audiences, selling well in the USA and UK and well received in both countries when presented by Peter in workshop sessions. Reviewers talk highly of the work and the detailed research that makes the story so authentic.
With a background of public speaking and addressing wide audiences Peter’s account of the uncovering of Annie’s story is as compelling as the story itself. He is happy to appear and speak at events.
The American Audience is particularly fascinated and horrified to hear of the work of Dr Henry Cotton in New Jersey in the period 1917 to 1931, a sentiment shared by all readers
With its echoes of Upstairs/Downstairs this Pygmalion tale is well suited to the screen. Peter is currently working on the screenplay.
Contact email: email@example.com
Contact telephone? 01946 862 667