The Great Famine that ravaged Ireland in the years 1845-1849 killed about a million people and caused about a million more to flee the country in search of a better life. It was a time of mass starvation and disease, and it had deep political, cultural, demographic, and social consequences. These facts are hard to read and even harder to understand fully. A Thousand Tears puts the story of that desperate time period in context through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Fanny and her family as they struggle to survive. Fanny, her parents, her sick little brother, and her elderly grandfather draw on the strength of family bonds as the world they know becomes harder and harder to navigate. The novel offers a hard look at one of the most significant periods in Irish history.