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A Sea of Sorrows: The Typhus Epidemic Diary of Johanna Leary is historical fiction book written by Norah McClintock. It is the thirty-first book in Dear Canada as well as McClintock's sole entry in the series. The book was published in September 2012 and translated into French in March 2013. It was followed by Carol Matas's Pieces of the Past.


"To Mary Ellen Carson McClintock"

Book description[]

"August 1, 1847
Just today I heard Mrs. Johnson say that the Irish are lazy. A gentleman protested that the potato crop had been ruined for two years in a row and that people were starving not out of laziness but from lack of food. "The fever sheds are overflowing," he said. "The wretched souls who survived the ocean voyage are now dying in droves." To which she replied, "Their landlords should be ashamed of themselves for shovelling their problems onto our shores."
I knew that the sheds were filled with decent people who had never needed any charity until they were forced to watch their loved ones die of hunger.
I despise Mrs. Johnson.

"1er août 1847
Mme Johnson a déclaré que les Irlandais sont paresseux. L'homme lui a objecté que les récoltes de pommes de terre avaient été désastreuses deux années de suite et que les Irlandais mouraient de faim non pas par paresse, mais par manque de nourriture. «Il en déborde de partout, a-t-il dit. Ces pauvres âmes en peine qui ont survécu à la traversée meurent par centaines.» Ce à quoi Mme Johnson a répliqué: «Leurs propriétaires devraient avoir honte de s'être débarrassés du problème en les envoyant sur nos côtes.»
J'étais bien placée pour savoir que les baraques étaient pleines de bonnes personnes qui n'avaient jamais eu besoin de la charité de qui que ce soit avant d'être forcées de regarder mourir de faim ceux qu'elles aimaient de tout leur cœur.
Je méprise Mme Johnson.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of A Sea of Sorrows characters


Main article: Norah McClintock



  • Resource Links, Best of the Year (2013) - commended[5]
  • Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre (2013) - commended[5]


"The publisher wishes to thank Barbara Hehner for her attention to the factual details, and Dr. Ross Fair, Ryerson University, for sharing his historical expertise."


  • The portrait on the cover is a detail from Christen Brun's 1869 painting A Basket of Ribbons. The background is a detail of the c. 1850 woodcut Emigrants arrival at Cork, a scene on the quay.[6][7]


See also[]

Dear Canada

Orphan at My Door | A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | With Nothing But Our Courage | Footsteps in the Snow
A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Whispers of War | Alone in an Untamed Land | Brothers Far from Home | An Ocean Apart
A Trail of Broken Dreams | Banished from Our Home | Winter of Peril | Turned Away | The Death of My Country
No Safe Harbour | A Rebel's Daughter | A Season for Miracles | If I Die Before I Wake | Not a Nickel to Spare
Prisoners in the Promised Land | Days of Toil and Tears | Where the River Takes Me | Blood Upon Our Land
A Desperate Road to Freedom | A Christmas to Remember | Exiles from the War | To Stand On My Own
Hoping for Home | That Fatal Night | Torn Apart | A Sea of Sorrows | Pieces of the Past | A Country of Our Own
All Fall Down | Flame and Ashes | A Time for Giving | These Are My Words

External links[]