Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

The Girl Who Came Home tells the story of Maggie Murphy, a young Irish girl who set out from Ireland with 13 other members of her town to sail on the Titanic to a better life in America. Much later in life, Maggie finally opens up to her great-granddaughter about that ill-fated trip.

I loved this book. Told from two different time frames: 1912 and 1982, the book is based on true events using fictional characters. I especially love how the story unfolded, but I admit that it was really hard for me to read at times because it was so incredibly sad. I had to put the book down a number of times in order to compose myself before continuing.

Gaynor, the author, used entries from Maggie's journal as well as a few letters from Seamus, the boy Maggie left behind in Ireland, to tell parts of the story. I loved how restrained she was in doing so. It definitely wasn't overdone. She also included some real Marconigrams from the time period, some from the Titanic itself, at the beginning of different story parts.

I also loved the lovely little twist at the end about Maggie. I didn't see that coming, but it definitely made the ending a bit more uplifting. I don't want to say more than that for fear of giving too much away.

Although I hadn't seen any of the Titanic movies/TV specials/etc., I did see an exhibit of Titanic memorabilia. I loved the exhibit, but I don't think I truly appreciated the magnitude of the event or the suffering of everyone on board. Hearing/reading the personal account a survivor, albeit fictional, really accentuated all of that.

This edition of the book contains a P.S. section, which features information about the author, the story behind the book, a glossary of Irish terms, and some reading group discussion questions. The whole thing was worth the read, but I especially loved the story behind the story. It explained which parts of the book were based on real life events.

Highly recommended. I probably could go on and on about this book, but I'll leave it there. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at William Morrow/HarperCollins for this review copy.

The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor, William Morrow (HarperCollins), ©2014. ISBN 9780062316868(Trade paperback), 359p.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like my kind of book. The two timelines, the twists, the bits of truth mixed with fiction. I will definitely be looking for this one at my library. Thanks for the review.


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