By Mary Pat Kelly
Grand Central Publishing
Retail price $26.99
Amazon Price: $17.81
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.
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
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
~Reviewed by Patti C.
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