Title: The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic
Author: Hazel Gaynor
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
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 Titanic that 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.
The Girl Who Came Home is a historical fiction novel about the Titanic that is unlike any other that I have ever read. I felt an intense connection to all the characters, and I cried my eyes out at the end, but probably for reasons that you would expect. There is romance in the story, but nothing ill-fated originating aboard the doomed vessel. The Girl Who Came Home also focused more on the characters than the actual disaster that took place on April 15, 1912.
When I started reading The Girl Who Came Home, I expected some heartbreaking novel that was told from the point of view of someone on the ship. I was only half right. The story goes back and forth between 1912, with Maggie Murphy traveling to Chicago with her aunt, and 1982, with Maggie's great-granddaughter, Grace. However, there was nothing terribly heartbreaking about the novel in addition to what we already know about the Titanic. Maggie and Grace's stories were more uplifting - how they moved on from loss and missed opportunities. I think grieving, but eventually moving on is something important that survivors of the shipwreck can teach us.
Because Hazel Gaynor used a rotating point of view for the novel, I was able to get to know more of the characters in The Girl Who Came Home. It made the story, as well as the main characters, richly and more expertly developed by being able explore things from every angle. I think I felt as strongly as I did about The Girl Who Came Home because I was able to see what these characters had and then lost, though not just aboard the ship.
I could tell you something about the romance in the book, but I don't want to spoil anything. I'll just say that it pulled at my heart and was so much more enjoyable for me than James Cameron's Titanic movie.
The parts of The Girl Who Came Home that are set on the Titanic, and even Ireland, showed me that Gaynor did a lot of research to know the "minor" details. It was like I was in Ireland or aboard the ship with the characters because it was so easy to fall into the descriptions and forget that I wasn't actually there. The characters were written so realistically, that I felt as if they were my friends and putting down the book was like saying goodbye.
The Girl Who Came Home is an outstanding book that I will happily share with friends and library patrons alike. Anyone who is interested in history - especially the Titanic - will enjoy the book.
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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.
Connect with Hazel on Facebook.
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The Girl Who Came Home Tour Schedule
Tuesday, April 1st
Reflections of a Bookaholic
Historical Tapestry (Guest Post)
Thursday, April 3rd
Monday, April 7th
Tuesday, April 8th
No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, April 9th
Thursday, April 10th
Friday, April 11th
Monday, April 14th
The Avid Reader
Tuesday, April 15th
Wednesday, April 16th
Thursday, April 17th
Read. Write. Repeat.
Monday, April 21st
Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, April 22nd
Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, April 23rd
Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, April 24th
Little Lovely Books
Monday, April 28th
Tuesday, April 29th
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.