I found love letter after love letter to Dorle, but very little in her voice until I discovered the romances she published in romance magazines in the nineteen teens when she (born in nineteen hundred) was in her teens herself. They were called “Master Lovers of the World” and based (very loosely) on the lives of historical figures.

Charles Stewart Parnell, a mid-nineteenth century Irish nationalist, had his heart (in Dorle’s telling) broken three times. First , he fell in love with a “young girl picking plums in an orchard” with a “delicate, rose-flushed face with its golden hair…framed in a sunbonnet,” who drowned.

He met his second love at a “5th Avenue ballroom” with a “rainbow froth of dancers.” Her hair was “piled high in auburn masses, her eyes were “hazel” and “shot with golden lights,” but she would not marry him “until he distinguished himself.” Parnell then “returned to Ireland and slaved in the cause of Irish freedom until his name was known in the four corners of the globe.” Unfortunately, a year later he learned via telegram of “the marriage of his fickle betrothed to another man.”

When he met Kitty, “the wife of his political follower, Captain O’Shea,” they fell in love and “fought desperately [but unsuccessfully] against the devastating passion which threatened to engulf them.”

When he was away from Kitty, he sent her a letter daily and two telegrams “one to bid her good morning and another to wish her goodnight.” In 1890 (ten years before Dorle’s own birth) the “storm broke,” “Captain O’Shea sued for divorce” and the ensuing scandal brought a “a bomb in the Irish ranks” which “hastened” Parnell’s death but brought him no regrets.

“For good or for ill,” Dorle has him writing Kitty, “I am your husband, your love, your child, your all. And I will give my life for Ireland but to you I will give my love. Whether it be your heaven or your hell, it is destiny. When I first looked into your eyes, I knew.”

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