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Finding Isobel is a compelling story of self-discovery, forgiveness, and the enduring power of family.

Isobel has always yearned to uncover the mystery surrounding her birth and why her adoptive parents have refused to share what they know with her. About to enter vet school, Isobel’s life takes an unexpected turn after the death of Maggie O’Connor, her de facto grandmother. Fueled by an ache to belong, and willing to sacrifice her college plans and a burgeoning relationship, Isobel embarks on a quest. Her search takes her from the tranquil landscapes of Wisconsin to the rugged beauty of New Zealand and ultimately to Bosnia, where she was born. Along the way, she encounters a diverse cast of characters, each with their own secrets and stories to share. Isobel discovers that the past holds far more than mere answers, setting her up for a future she could never have imagined.

About the Author

Mary Bean was born in Ireland. She attended Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham, and received a BSc (Hons) and PhD in Zoology from University College Dublin. She emigrated to the United States in 1976 and spent her career as a professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now retired, she devotes her time to writing fiction, memoir and short stories. Her first book, Abbey Girls, is a memoir she wrote with her sister, Valerie Behan, about their childhood in Ireland. Her debut novel, A Measured Thread, set in Wisconsin and Ireland, was named a Top 100 Indie Book in 2020, a finalist in the Page Turner Awards, and an eLit medal winner. Kernels, a collection of short stories, was published in 2021. Finding Isobel, a companion to her first novel, was published in 2024. Her stories have been published in the Irish literary journal, Crossways, and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Mary lives with her husband in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin. Visit her at


Irish American News

National Library of Ireland

American Irish Historical Society

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