Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review and Tour: Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly


Today's tour is hosted by Hachette Book Group. Thank you for providing this wonderful book.

" Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans." [From Hachette Book Group website.]

My thoughts: This is one of those multi-generational novels that grab you by the heart and soul and does not let go until the last page is turned. I was in love with all these characters from the very beginning. The women in the story have the most indomitable spirits of fictional women anywhere. What they lived through to keep themselves and their families alive is absolutely incredible. They showed resilience, courage and an undaunting faith. Ms. Kelly has impeccably captured the voices of these women as wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. She is a spellbinding storyteller.

The history of Ireland and the heartbreak of a life under British rule is so vividly portrayed, it is easy to feel the emotions of the characters, whether it be heartbreak or triumph. Their remarkable faith in the face of extreme adversity is awe inspiring. How the people survived who lived through the famine is amazing to me. What I found particularly enjoyable was the re-telling of some of the legends and beliefs that had been kept alive for centuries.Another part of the story that I really liked was the love of family, home , and country theme. This is discernible throughout the entire book.

All these elements put together just made for the most wonderful story. It is quite apparent Ms. Kelly did a tremendous amount of research for this book. The history, although heartwrenching at times, is fascinating. Although it is nearly 600 pages long, the story flowed magically for me and I just loved every sentence. Highly recommended. 5***** rating

Tour participants:removed

About the author:


In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.

    13 comments:

    1. Kaye, well what a great review! I can't wait to read this and not just because I'm or Irish heritage! Thanks!

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    2. I adored this novel! I rarely become so engrossed that I will cry for the characters, and I think Kelly's connection to the basis of this book, her family, fueled her writing and made it richer!

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    3. Great review! I didn't think I was interested in reading this book, but your review may well have changed my mind!

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    4. Fantastic review. You are so right Kaye..the spirit of these women is just unbreakable... there are some really gripping scenes in the book. The white hare scene... the "get away scene." Such a wonderful story.

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    5. Glad you enjoyed it. I did as well. I was definitely racing through the pages to see what would happen next.

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    6. I loved this book. I had such a hard time putting it down once I had gotten into it. It was made so much better by being based on the author's own family remembrances I think.

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    7. Kaye - that was a fantastic review. I've been seeing this book on a lot of blogs and was very curious about it. Also, I LOVE the cover!

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    8. Great review. Simply a marvelous book.

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    9. This sounds like such a great book-Thanks for the review. I love books that take me to other countries and cultures.

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    10. Great job Kaye! This book sounds amazing. I didn't think I would be that interested in it but now I might have to add it to the (large) pile. Excellent review and tour! And your blog!

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    11. What a great review Kaye. I was so caught up in the lives of Honora and Michael. I cried so many times. Definitely one that will be on my bookshelves for years to come!

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    12. I thought this book was fabulous.

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    13. I absolutely loved this book, and I didn't want it to end. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too.

      --Anna
      Diary of an Eccentric

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