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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home

Well over one hundred years since the fateful sinking of the Titanic, people are still interested in the many stories that have been written about that night on April 15, 1912. When the unsinkable ship met its match when it encountered an iceberg despite the many warnings of sightings in the area and yet they failed to reduced their speed and tempted fate. So many mistakes and so many to blame, but what we fail sometimes to remember is that people did survive despite the odds from both first class passengers to steerage and even a handful of dogs, while even more lost their lives from babies to older couples in the prime of life.

For those that did survive, they have passed along their stories of what it was like that fateful night, when so many had left their homes in search of a better life in America but never reached it. Those that kept that night long buried in their memory never wanting to talk about it to even their close family and friends. If you think about it now, there are no survivors left from that night. They have all died but their stories live on in the lives of those they did share their secrets with.

In the novel, The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor, she takes a different spin on all the other novels that have been written choosing instead to focus on handful that survived among a group of fourteen that left Ireland for better opportunities each personal in their own way. It is based on fact but then filled in with some fiction as filler but the story remains the same. People struggled to survive from all social classes and on that night it was literally everyone for themselves. The reader is introduced to Maggie Murphy who is leaving Ireland despite her wishes to find new hope in America with her Aunt Kathleen. Kathleen has agreed to take a group of Irish immigrants to America if they can secure a ticket. She will make sure they all arrive as promised.

For Maggie, she is leaving behind more than just her childhood home, she is leaving behind the one man she had hoped to marry, Seamus Doyle. They agree to write one another as much as they can, but Seamus believes that Maggie will return home to him one day when she is older. He vows to wait for her, despite not being able to accompany her on this trip because of his ailing father. He only hopes the pack of letters he has written her, one for every month they have been in love, will help to pass the time for Maggie. Neither of them could ever imagine how this trip would end for either one.

The novel toggles between various characters from Maggie's journal she writes in to pass her time on the ship, to their steward Harry Walsh who has fallen for one of Maggie's friends on board, Peggy Madden who wishes to be married to a wealthy man and thus raise herself in the social class but for now has to settle for her lot in life. Grace Butler is Maggie's great granddaughter who also tells her story of what learning about survival means to her moving forward in her own life, leaving behind a man she loved to care for her father. Maggie and Grace soon learn that life is too precious to waste and thus must be embraced every single day.

I received The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I've been a huge fan of the Titanic for quite some time and LOVE reading everything from fictional based novels to non fiction about the lives that were forever changed that night. This one tells the survival story of how a third class steerage passenger was able to live to tell her tale and how it changed how she moved forward in the remaining years of her life in America. The novel also uses the authentic Marconi messages from the Titanic and Carpathia to begin each section of the book. There is a section at the end where the author provides the factual information she obtains as the basis for her novel and a reader discussion guide as well. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about The Girl Who Came Home, Hazel Gaynor or where you can preorder this novel that is due for release in April of 2014, please click on the links below:

You can also find Hazel Gaynor on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Girl Who Came Home, please visit William Morrow's website. 
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062316869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062316868
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches

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