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Intersection Column | Knowing Your Place

by Irene Hannon

I grew up in a very Irish family. My father was born in rural County Cork, Ireland, and lived in a cottage without electricity or indoor plumbing until he immigrated to the United States at the age of 26. My mother’s parents were full-blooded Irish as well.

As a result of that strong ethnic heritage, my brother and I always knew about, and celebrated, our Celtic roots. Sometimes in an Americanized fashion (like eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, which isn’t an Irish tradition). Sometimes by playing and singing Irish music. But most often by listening to Dad’s stories about the land of his birth. Going as a family to visit the cottage where he grew up, walk the beaches where he spent his youth, and meet the family we’d heard so much about was an amazing experience.

Sadly, the days of listening to the stories Mom and Dad told are gone. Six years ago, we lost my mom quite suddenly. Last November, my dad left us just as quickly and unexpectedly. So the guardianship of our family legacy now rests with my brother and me.

But I am so grateful for the foundation of heritage my parents gave us. Thanks to them, we know where we belong in the world. We’re connected to the places and people in our past, tied to them by blood and traditions and values. And in learning about what the parents we loved valued the most, we also learned to appreciate what truly matters. As my father often said, he didn’t have much in a material sense growing up in Ireland, but he had everything he needed—a roof over his head, food on the table, relatives close by, and most of all, the love and devotion of his Aunt Kate, who raised him. Those blessings, he always said, made him a rich man.

The three sisters in my Triple Threat series have a similar strong foundation of family heritage. With a Greek mother and an Irish father, they grew up with an interesting mix of traditions. Though their mother died young, she instilled in them great respect and love for their Greek heritage. And after her death, their father made it a point to continue to emphasize that part of their DNA.

One of the ways they celebrate this heritage is with food. For example, baklava is the specialty of Grace, the heroine in Body of Evidence—and it gets her into a bit of trouble with her sisters in this book. They frequently ask her to make this family favorite, but her job as a forensic pathologist keeps her too busy to bake such a complicated recipe except on holidays or special occasions. So when they find evidence of it in her house in the middle of summer, they pepper her with questions. You’ll have to read the book to find the answers!

Whatever our heritage, celebrating the culture, language, food, history and family stories that have been passed down gives us roots and helps us find our place in the world. And that is a lasting treasure.

Go mbeadh a fhios agat i gcónaí agus go stórálfaidh tú d’áit sa domhan.


About the Author

Irene Hannon is the bestselling, award-winning author of 60+ contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. She is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America and a member of RWA’s elite Hall of Fame. Learn more at


About the Book

Forensic pathologist Grace Reilly has seen her share of unusual deaths in rural Missouri. But when she begins to notice a curious pattern in autopsies of elderly residents whose demise appears to be natural, she takes her concerns to Sheriff Nate Cox.


Did You Know?

In March 2022, the World Health Organization released a study that said global levels of anxiety and depression have increased by 25% since COVID was declared a pandemic. Research shows that young adults and women suffer more than men, and contributing factors include isolation, financial concerns, fear, bereavement and feelings of powerlessness. So how can we restore a sense of hope in the midst of ongoing personal and global challenges?

  • Express gratitude. God created our bodies and knows how they function best. That’s why He commands us to give thanks in every situation (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Expressing gratitude releases serotonin and dopamine, hormones associated with pleasure and contentment. Anxiety decreases and calm increases when we give thanks even for life’s little things.

  • Develop new thought patterns. Allowing negative thoughts to dwell in our minds naturally results in a negative outlook. However, replacing fearful and dismal thoughts with God’s hope-filled promises develops a hope-filled perspective. This is the Romans 12:2 principle: We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

  • Be resilient. Life’s journey will take us to unexpected places, but we are neither alone nor powerless. God is with us. His presence and power at work within us will help us navigate those changes well.

Everyone needs hope. Without it, we perish. Let’s set our hope not on circumstances that change, but on God and His promises that remain steadfast forever.


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“Bookstores are a great example of great diversity under one roof, where great stories from today and the distant past through different genres and styles all coexist. I can easily get lost in a bookstore looking at covers and reading the back copy. Choosing what to buy is the hardest part.”

-Britt Mooney, Say Yes


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