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The Girl Who Came Home
A Novel of the Titanic
Hazel Gaynor

William Morrow Paperbacks
April 1, 2014/ ISBN 978-0062316868
Historical Fiction

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Many of us have been fascinated with the events of the 1912 sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic. We have even seen movies and documentaries over the years, but nothing prepared me for as intimate an experience of the event as Hazel Gaynor’s novel, The Girl Who Came Home. The novel is based upon the true story of fourteen women and men who left a small Irish village to start life anew in America. Only three of them survived the Titanic’s sinking to set foot on that foreign shore.

In 1982, Grace Butler leaves a promising journalist career and returns home upon the death of her father. She remains undecided about what to do with her life. “Nana” Maggie senses her granddaughter’s loss and gives Grace the private journal Maggie kept from 1912 – one that details her love for a young man, Seamus, whose letters she lost after the Titanic sank.

The journal portrays Maggie Murphy’s life in her small village, the people she loved and those she left behind. The author lives in Ireland, thus knows the land and the people. The use of character flashbacks, personal letters and copies of “Marconigrams” added reality to the story.

Though this novel is an intimate tale of one woman’s fateful journey, it is also a heart-rending story of death and survival, of chances taken and lost. Hazel Gaynor has provided a vivid picture of tragic events, all the more touching due to the intimacy we see and feel of Maggie’s suffering. We pray hope exists, especially for Grace, but it is Maggie who ultimately provides us with the surprising ending.

The Girl Who Came Home is truly one of those magnificent and touching novels that will remain in my memory for years to come.

Reviews of other titles by this Author

The Girl From the Savoy
The Girl Who Came Home
The Cottingley Secret
Last Christmas in Paris - w/ Heather Webb

The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter

Reviewed 2014