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Galway Bay

by Mary Pat Kelly


Looking for a lengthy family saga to keep you busy for awhile? With over 550 pages, Mary Pat Kelly's Galway Bay should fit the bill perfectly.

A poignant historical family saga that spans six generations, the novel begins in Ireland during The Great Starvation. Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and begin their life together only to be caught up in the throes of three potato crop blights in four years.

Seeking a better life in America, after Michael dies Honora and her children join two million other Irish refugees fleeing their homeland. Settling in Chicago, Honora and her very unconventional sister, Maire, and their seven sons will help transform the frontier city into the "City of the Century". Over the decades family members will not only fight in the American Civil War but also enlist in the struggle of the Emerald Isle's freedom.

Mary Pat Kelly wrote Galway Bay as a tribute to her ancestors. She also explains why her novel should be a source of inspiration for readers during the current economic crisis.

"This is America's story.  We're all descended from those who refused to be defeated by war, famine, genocide, the middle passage, death itself," she says.  "Hope won. Our lives are their victories. Remembering our ancestors can sustain us in the toughest of times."

For those who enjoy sweeping novels that cover many decades and feature a number of fascinating characters, Galway Bay will be a worthwhile read. Don't start this novel, though, if you are the kind of person who sets the book down for awhile and then returns after a week or so. You need to stay with this story to fully appreciate its scope. Frankly, once into this tale, I can't imagine too many individuals who will want to walk away from it or take a break!

The Book

Grand Central
February 2009
Historical fiction / 19th Century Ireland and America
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The Reviewer

Bob Walch
Reviewed 2009
© 2009