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Galway Bay
By Mary Pat Kelly
Grand Central Publishing

Retail price $26.99
Amazon Price: $17.81

Book description:

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.

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.

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For those who like historical fiction, Galway Bay is one book you will want to be sure and add to your reading list.  It is a compelling story based on the life of the author's great, great grandmother, Honora Kelly.

After losing her husband to the Potato famine in Ireland, Honora journeys to America with her five children and settles in Chicago.  The family arriving in Chicago gives us insight into what it was like for the Irish in other large cities of the U.S. since most Irish entered the U.S. through either Boston or New York and often settled there.

While Mary Pat Kelly starts out giving the reader a glimpse into the history and personal struggles of her own family, she succeeds in capturing what life was like in 19th century Ireland and Chicago for all those of Irish descent.

This was an excellent read for those who like historical fiction.  If you are not a fan of this genre, you will like it for the story itself. 

~Reviewed by Patti C.



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