The Girl Who Came Home:
A Novel of the Titanic
by Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Historical Fiction
A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman. . . .
Ireland, 1912 . . .
Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.
Chicago, 1982 . . .
Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanicthat she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.
Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home poignantly blends fact and fiction to explore the Titanic tragedy's impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.
My Thoughts: Ever since the movie, Titanic, came out I have been obsessed with things Titanic. My son even loves watching the movie, but I suspect that was just because he liked watching the ship sinking. It wasn't until we read a kid's book about Titanic together that he realized that it actually happened and that there were a lot of people who died.
So anyway, when the offer to review this book came out I jumped on it! I like the way the story is told between the events that led up to Maggie and her companions traveling on the Titanic back in 1912 and how finally sharing her story comes to affect her great-granddaughter Grace and the path that her life takes in 1982.
There were times when I was reading about when they were all on the ship that I wanted to wring the necks of some of the first class passengers and how cavalier they were towards the third class passengers in steerage. I would say the majority of the story was told from the 1912 perspective, as it should be, as that was when the tragedy occurred. You don't really learn much about what happened between 1912 and 1982 other than to know that Maggie survived and went on to have a family of her own. This made it kind of fun at the end when you did get a glimpse of those years.
Though Grace wasn't involved in an ocean liner sinking, she did have tragedy befall her when she was just a little older than Maggie was while on the Titanic, and some of the things in her life paralleled Maggie's in that they were derailed for a short time before being able to put the pieces back together.
I enjoyed the way the author used the cherry trees back in Ballysheen to represent people and how cherry blossoms figured heavily throughout Maggie's life.
I would like to share one of my favorite passages from the book:
It was a moment Grace would never forget, watching this dignified old lady whom she loved so much, as she stared into a small case which she'd last seen when only a girl. A lifetime of memories flooded Maggie's lined face; a lifetime of forgetting was washed away. It was a moment of silent reflection; a moment laced with poignancy. (p70, Advance Reader's eproof of The Girl Who Came Home).
I received a complimentary ecopy of The Girl Who Came Home from Harper Collins in exchange for my unbiased review.
About the author: Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance writer in Ireland and the U.K. and was the recipient of the Cecil Day Lewis Award for Emerging Writers in 2012. Originally from North Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Ireland with her husband, two young children, and an accident-prone cat.
Tour wide Giveaway
Grand Prize - New York Times poster
Prizes: Three books for lucky readers.