John Dennis Fitzgerald did not see himself as an author until he published his first book Papa Married a Mormon. What he could not have expected was the phenomenal success it would achieve, nor the eventual sequels it would produce.
Papa Married a Mormon is the tender love story of an Irish Catholic man and a young Danish Mormon woman. Fitzgerald describes their first meeting, “Tom saw only a girl standing on a stepladder behind the counter placing goods on a shelf. Her corn colored hair hung in two thick waist-length braids. Her hazel eyes showed curiousity as she saw the stranger, and her small mouth crinkled into a smile producing two dimples in her cheeks….”May I help you, sir?” she asked….Tom tried to speak, but his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth.”
Though their cultures are miles apart their love for each other guides their lives. This love also reaches beyond them and is a force for healing in the lives of family, friends, and neighbors.
Papa Married a Mormon is a beautiful book. The prose is perfect, the description compelling, and the plot line enriching. If you want to experience the old west family style, this book is the perfect read.
There are no records which tell if Fitzgerald planned on writing more books about his families past. By all accounts the first was his only intended one.
However, readers wanted more. Fitzgerald obliged.
Mamma’s Boarding House begins where Papa Married a Mormon ended. The family has matured. Their creative energies are now driven by adult desires such as careers, higher education, and marriage. Grandbabies arrive and old friends give their all as the next generation takes the helm of the Fitzgerald Saga.
Fitzgerald’s love for Utah’s history is not lost in this book. Readers are privileged to enjoy the annual Pioneer Day celebration. They also watch as the final outlaws from the territory meet their fate. Near the end of the story Uncle Will tells of the historic silver find that led to the establishment of Silver Reef, one of Utah’s most famous mining towns. The story closes tenderly allowing the reader to savor the memories of the Old West.
Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse, was the third book in the series. Set during pre-civil war America, this unique story is the history of William Dennis Fitzgerald of Pennsylvania. A bright but impatient youth whose enthusiasm drives him to seek a different life. Young, angry, and impetouos Will sets off across America towards the west. Along the way he becomes a sophisticated saloon owner of the White Horse Saloon in Silverlode, Utah. Inwardly missing some of the true joys in life, Will finds through his brother, Tom’s family, a healing he had been searching for since his childhood.
Among the trilogy this book is a departure from the sweet and tender stories of the other 2 books.