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The Shining Fragments

The Shining Fragments

By Robin Blackburn McBride

A heartbreaking arrival in a new country. Thrust too early into adulthood. Will he survive Canada’s turbulent streets?

Toronto, 1882. Joseph Conlon has never felt more alone. Parentless after his mother dies on the voyage from Ireland, the frightened eight-year-old witnesses his sister’s abduction and is abandoned at the train station. But once he’s placed in a Catholic orphanage, Joseph discovers a gift for drawing and friends that begin to fill the hole in his heart.

Falling for a mercurial girl acrobat, his desire to win her affection drives him to find her after she runs off for a life on the stage. And as he leaves the institution and grows to manhood, the young immigrant endures dangerous work, anti-Irish bigotry, and lying about his faith to survive… only to have his longing for family lead to tragedy.

Will Joseph ever reach the place where he belongs?

In this poignant and lyrical story, author Robin Blackburn McBride follows one boy’s emotional and colorful journey. Deftly depicting a compelling era while exploring the intensely personal challenges of the human experience, McBride’s inspirational tale of hope and courage will touch you deeply.

The Shining Fragments is a meticulously researched and rendered historical family saga. If you like complex characters, richly authentic settings, and stories of resilience, then you’ll love Robin Blackburn McBride’s immersive novel.

Buy The Shining Fragments to witness the strength of the human spirit today!

"Tales about orphans left to find their way in the New World are many, but few are as engaging as this story." -Historical Novel Society North America, Editors' Choice


Guernica Editions (Essential Prose Series)


260 pages |

Regular price $21.95 USD
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"Here is a convincing drama of an Irish boy who, after being abandoned in Union Station, seeks to make himself a life. What appealed to me is that the story is uniquely set in a well-researched, turn-of-the-century Toronto. The struggling characters come from all classes and, most important, their dramatic interactions are told with a gripping, compassionate power."

Wayson Choy


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