Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: Galway Bay - Blog Tour

Title:  Galway Bay
Author:  Mary Pat Kelly
Review Copy Provided by:  Hachette Book Group

About the 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.

My Review:  Having come from Irish ancestors, I was drawn to this book immediately.  To say it was a beautiful read would be an understatement.  I loved everything about this book, the writing, the characters, the story line, the history, all of it.  I have studied the Potato Famine with my kids at school, but never knew just how deeply and tragically it affected these people.  What a horrible feeling to know that all you had planted, all you had worked for, was ruined in less than a heartbeat.  What these people went through to sustain life, each other, and their families during the years of hardship is amazing!  It truly shows their character, determination, and resilience.  At the same time, they are being pushed out of Ireland, only to travel to "Amerikay."  How can they leave Ireland behind, the land where they were born, raised, and made their own families?  Coming to America brings it's own trials.  So many emotions went through me as I read this story.  Frank McCourt said, "Laughter and tears and pure magic." How right he was!  Honora, the main character, is truly admirable.  I love her!  I'm not sure I could have endured everything that she had to endure.

Mary Pat Kelly tells a wonderful story in Galway Bay.  It is based upon the true story of her family's journey.  A true gem of an historical fiction novel!

Here are some extras that you might enjoy reading:

Letter from Mary Pat Kelly
Author Essay - An Honor

Thanks to Miriam at Hachette, I have a copy to give away to a lucky reader!  Please leave a comment about your favorite period in history, favorite historical event, or favorite historical fiction novel.  I will randomly draw a winner on Monday, Mar. 23.  As always you can earn extra entries by following me, tweeting about this contest, or blogging about this contest.  Earn 3 extra entries for visiting another blogger on the tour and telling me something about their post.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Open to US/Canada addresses; no PO boxes.

Following is a list of ALL the other blogs on the tour.  I hope that you will take some time to stop by a few and see their thoughts on this great book!



Marie said...

I'd love to win this book. Please enter me.

My favourite historical novel is "The Soul Catcher" by Michael White.


Marie said...

I follow you via Blogger's follow function. ;)

3carnations said...

Would Angela's Ashes count? Hubby and I both come from Irish familes, and are fascinated with Irish history, as well as stories (fictional and otherwise) of Irish families.

3carnations said...

I'm subscribing to you in bloglines.

KR said...

My favorite is still Gone With the Wind!

KR said...

I follow

Beth F said...

Nice review! And thanks for the extras.

I'd love to be entered into the drawing: I love the Tudor time period in England, I follow you in Blogger's follow widget, I'll tweet this in a second, and I visited BermudaOnion (among others) and loved her story about her grandmother.

Thanks for the review and the giveaway.

Ti said...

Hi there. I would love to win this. My favorite historical fiction book alternates between Devil in the White City and Star of the Sea.


Luanne said...

No need to enter me - just stopping by on the tour to say hi Shel. I loved your review and totally agree with you - it's a book I couldn't put down and will never get rid of!

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me. Just stopped by to tell you that I loved your review. I thought this book was fantastic!

Laston Lastof said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book! I'm not sure I could pick one favorite part of history to read about--there was a series of historical fiction (formulaic, no-sex romance) that I loved when I was in middle school. All the books were titled their protagonist's names. I doubt they'd be my favorites now, but they were certainly my gateway to loving historical fiction, so I am, at least, forever grateful.

(A couple I remember: Kathleen, about an Irish immigrant woman who becomes a maid; Roxanne, who heads to Hollywood during the Great Depression; Nicole, a passenger on the Titanic; Suzanna, which I think was about a girl in Texas during the Alamo.)

Unknown said...

I have two favorite historical fiction novels and I'm sure the list will continue to grow as I delve more into this genre. The first is Pride and Prejudice and the second is Gone with the Wind.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm favorite historical novel would be The Hiding Place only it's not really a historical novel. heh heh

Let me see.. favorite historical event...the crucifixion of Christ, I guess. Gruesome but important to me.

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your drawing. My favorite historical period would be during the time of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Debs Desk said...

I am a follower.

BurtonBookReview said...

Hello Shelly, I now officially follow this blog although I've come in for awhile and browsed; and I follow on Twitter ;)(BurtonReview)
AND on Book Blogs!

My favorite historical novels will have to be the Penman trilogy that started with "When Christ and his Saints Slept", the Henry II trilogy.

Please enter me, I want this book!

Amy said...

what a pretty cover! great review:)

Toni said...

NO need to enter me.. just stopping by on the tour... ( a bit late) and saying.. I love your review.

Brimful Curiosities said...

Historical fiction = one of my favorites is "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens. I really liked learning about the French Revolution in high school and wrote an essay on Marie Antoinette.

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