Less than 100 years ago a form of slavery still persisted in parts of rural Ireland – the hiring fair system. Children as young as seven or eight were sold for fixed periods by their impoverished parents to farmers who worked them to the bone, treating them as little more than cattle. Often worse. The Donegal Woman is based on the true story of the author’s own grandmother. Born to the poorest of Protestant farmers in the hills of Donegal, hired out as a child, raped by her new master, and then, pregnant, forced to marry another man twice her age. But Margaret was not defeated. Inspired by the needs of her children she fought back. She fed and clothed them and she brought beauty and joy into their lives as she introduced them to the natural wonders of world. Nor was she defeated in her own spirit. She came to understand how she could love her children with all her heart but hate the act that brought them about. she came to understand that sex did not have to be violent and brutal. She came to understand that it could be gentle and tender and loving. margaret was a true Irish heroine. Her life is an example for women everywhere.