MacGrory, Yvonne 1948-
MacGRORY, Yvonne 1948-
PERSONAL: Born November 16, 1948, in Ireland; daughter of Alexander Joseph (a foreman fitter) and Brigid (a homemaker; maiden name, Moore) McDyer; married Eamon MacGrory (a cabinetmaker), July 24, 1971; children: Jane, Donna, Mark. Religion: Roman Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Home—Kilraine, Glenties, County Donegal, Ireland. Agent—Rena Dardis, 45 Palmerston Rd., Dublin 6, Ireland.
CAREER: Children's book author. Has worked as a state registered nurse in London, England, and Dublin, Ireland; full-time homemaker beginning 1976.
MEMBER: Irish Writers' Union, Irish Nurses Organization.
AWARDS, HONORS: Bisto Award for First Children's Novel, Children's Books Ireland, 1991, for The Secret of the Ruby Ring.
The Secret of the Ruby Ring, illustrated by Terry Myler, Children's Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1991, Milkweed Editions (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.
Martha and the Ruby Ring, illustrated by Terry Myler, Children's Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1993.
The Ghost of Susannah Parry, illustrated by Terry Myler, Children's Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1995.
The Quest of the Ruby Ring, illustrated by Terry Myler, Children's Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1999, published as Emma and the Ruby Ring, Milkweed Editions (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.
ADAPTATIONS: The Secret of the Ruby Ring was made into a film for television by Hallmark.
WORK IN PROGRESS: "A children's book set during the civil war in Ireland, 1922."
SIDELIGHTS: Yvonne MacGrory's time-slip novels for young adults are firmly grounded in Irish political and social history, and include details of daily life during the period covered. In her first book, The Secret of the Ruby Ring, eleven-year-old Lucy receives a ruby ring as a present from her grandmother. The ring comes with two wishes, the first of which avaricious Lucy spends on a wish to live in a much larger house. She immediately finds herself walking down a country road outside a castle. It is 1885, and when the foolish girl discovers she has lost the magic ring, she goes to work as a nursemaid in the castle, desperately trying to wish herself back into her own time again. Booklist reviewer Carolyn Phelan praised MacGrory's "intriguing and convincing . . . depiction of the historical era" that includes, among other details, the ways in which nineteenth-century rural Ireland possessed few creature comforts, especially for the working classes. While Roger Sutton in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books remarked that experienced fans of the time-slip genre might prefer a story with more complexity, particularly in the arena of plot, which is focused entirely on the search for Lucy's lost ring, "it is, though, a simple, straightforward tale, and . . . neophytes can just sit back and enjoy the search." Joanne Kelleher, a contributor to School Library Journal, on the other hand, focused instead on aspects of style and content in her comments, praising the author's descriptive prose and effective use of historical detail to tell her tale. "A definite purchase to answer requests for 'a book set in a foreign country,' time travel, or historical fiction," Kelleher concluded.
"I worked part-time as a state registered nurse in London after my first child was born," MacGrory told CA, "but when we returned to live in Ireland, I became a full-time housewife.
"When my children got older, I began to consider some form of employment again—ideally I wanted to work from the home.
"One day I heard a woman author being interviewed on radio, and she told how she had written her first book as a wager and had since gone on to write a bestseller. I was fascinated by the interview and wondered if I too could write a book. The thought continued to nag at me, but it was not until my two daughters had an argument about sharing a bedroom and we had a discussion about magic wands and wishes that I got my inspiration for my first book, The Secret of the Ruby Ring. I did not tell my family about it until I had been accepted by a publisher. I wrote the first draft in long hand, and this book has since been made into a film for television by Hallmark of Los Angeles."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 1994, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Secret of the Ruby Ring, p. 1262.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1994, Roger Sutton, review of The Secret of the Ruby Ring, p. 294.
School Library Journal, March, 1994, Joanne Kelleher, review of The Secret of the Ruby Ring, p. 222; May, 2002, Heather Dieffenbach, review of Emma and the Ruby Ring, p. 156.