The Oystercatcher of Southwark

by Erica Colahan-Ruggieri

Copyright 2022

Mary is standing behind her mama, second from the left in the back row.

Mary is separated from her family in 1897 and disappears from history until her great-granddaughter, Bella, and a stranger named Sophie discover their family connection and pursue the truth.

Philadelphia, 1897—Mary Paragano suffers a tragedy that affects her family for generations. Disowned by her father, abandoned by her husband, and pursued by a jealous gangster, Mary struggles to protect her children, only to be torn away from them and committed to an asylum.

Philadelphia, present-day—While Bella struggles through the pain of her recent divorce, she is approached by Sophie, a stranger claiming to be a relative of Jakob—the man who abandoned Mary to her horrible fate 125 years before. Skeptical at first, the women form a deep bond as they piece together what happened on that tragic night.

The more they search, the more they find and they soon realize things are not always what they seem. Was Jakob a scoundrel, and Mary insane? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between?


Based on the true events of Mary’s life, The Oystercatcher of Southwark is a journey through the immigrant neighborhoods of South Philadelphia—focusing on the intense love of a mother for her children—and the redemptive hope that God offers to all creation.

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1 thought on “The Oystercatcher of Southwark

  1. Elisabeth Nuttall

    I have loved reading your little ‘snippets’. Can’t wait to read the finished book! I think it needs to be a Trilogy 🙂

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