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
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
of other titles by this Author
Girl From the Savoy
Girl Who Came Home
Christmas in Paris - w/ Heather Webb
Lighthouse Keepers Daughter