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Galway Bay Paperback – February 28, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 237 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kelly uses a well-known chapter in Irish American history as a springboard for a vividly lavish historical novel. The mid-nineteenth-century potato famine in Ireland resulted in approximately one million deaths and one million emigrations. After leaving a desperate and depleted Ireland, Michael and Honora Kelly make their way to America. Eventually settling in Chicago, the Kellys and their children struggle to survive and thrive in the “Promised Land.” This multigenerational family saga mirrors the experiences of countless other immigrants who transformed both their own lives and the face of America. Kelly does an admirable job of conveying both the despair and the determination that gripped a generation of Irish immigrants. Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A vividly lavish historical novel. Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience."―Booklist

"[Will] appeal to fans of Frank McCourt and Irish History."―Publishers Weekly

"After reading her novel, Galway Bay, you might wonder if Mary Pat Kelly knows everything about 19th century Ireland, the Great Famine, and the emigrant experience in America. But it's her exploration of the human heart that moves you. Against landscapes beautiful and bleak she brings her characters to unforgettable life. As they say in Ireland, 'Take your ease with this book.' You'll need time for laughter and tears and pure magic."―Frank McCourt, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of ANGELA'S ASHES
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (February 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446697109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446697101
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. A. Taylor VINE VOICE on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Not knowing much about Irish history, and only knowing that in the 19th century there was something called the potato famine, I looked forward to reading Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. I learned an enormous amount about Irish history and the horrors of the potato famine.

Galway Bay is the story of the Kelly family starting in the "before times", that time before The Great Starvation. The inhumanity shown the Irish by the English, the landlords, and the agents, during the potato famine is incredible, treating the Irish as less than human. But the Kelly family vows to survive, and survive they do--on less food than many of us throw away in one day. As more and more Irish die of starvation, the English have great plans for taking over the land left idle and so begin evicting those who remain. With nowhere to go, the Kelly's make their way to America, first to New Orleans and then Chicago.

This is a marvelous sweeping family saga told with an ear to the Irish bent to storytelling. The story swept me in and held my attention with every page. Honora Kelly, the main character telling the story, was actually a real person, the great-great-grandmother of the author. She is perhaps the strongest woman I have ever read about, surviving unbelievable hardships all the while loving and raising her children and making her way in America. This is a woman I will long remember.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the story of their time in New Orleans and Chicago was not long enough. I wish the author had added another 100 or so pages and made this time longer. The description of the life and times of early Chicago was just fascinating and I would have loved to read more.
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Format: Hardcover
GALWAY BAY
Mary Pat Kelly
Grand Central Publishing
$26.99
ISBN: 978-0-446-57900-1
551 pages
Reviewer: Annie Slessman

Wow...wow..and wow again! Mary Pat Kelly's new novel, Galway Bay, is one of the best-written works of fiction I have read this year. Containing the history of the blight that killed so many crops and people in Ireland in the 1800s. Horror stories of people lying dead in their homes from starvation will stay with the reader for a long time.

The story's main character, Honora Keeley Kelly, born in 1822 marries at age 16 when Michael Kelly emerges from the sea and captivates her heart. Kelly is a wanderer, equestrian extraordinaire, blacksmith and soon to be, farmer that keeps his family close and learns to love the land. The story of Honora and Michael's family members brings a reader to tears and strengthens their own resolve to be stronger in the face of adversity.

When the blight ends, Michael and Honora finally have a wonderful crop to see them through the year without the threat of starvation. Their joy is short lived when the soldiers take their crops and threaten to take their lives.

Several heroes materialize in this story. Honora, Michael, Michael's rebellious brother, Patrick Kelly and Honora's sister, Maire. Patrick sparks the Irish rebellion and takes his fight to Amerikay (America) to build strong opposition to the current government and landowners (mostly English) in Ireland. Maire sacrifices herself when a landowner threatens to take Honora as his own. Maire has lost her husband to the sea and feels she is better equipped to handle the landowners demands than Honora.
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Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book if you are looking for richly drawn characters and a compelling story.

Author Kelly relates the saga of her great, great grandmother, Honora Kelly. After losing her husband to the famine in Ireland, Honora journeys to America with her five children and settles in Chicago.

Kelly's descriptive writing captures what life in 19th century Ireland and Chicago must have been like.

For lovers of historical fiction and the telling of a good tale, "Galway Bay" is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is interesting and I love the Ireland saga. It just was too long and at the end I felt like it became too much of a documentary towards the end and not enough of a story. My Grandfather came from Ireland and always told stories so anything to do with Irish heritage I love. One of the best books I have read was "Gracelin O'Malley" written by Ann Moore the trilogy of books to me was far superior and much more real. I give Mrs. Kelly a lot of kudos' for writing and do so much research I just wish she would have made the novel; 100 pages less. She is a talented writer and for all of our ancestors we owe so much. I doubt many of us would have survived what the Kelly's did. It is still worth the read you just might get a little weary by the end.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at my local Irishfest because the author was there and you know what? I am so glad that I did. Mary Pat Kelly writes so beautifully and keeps my attention for the most part in a pretty hefty book. While the book does have a bit of sadness, its still pretty positive and wraps up in the end and ties up most loose ends. Much better than Angela Ashes since it really is about the good and bad of the Irish and their Immigration. The description of Chicago during the Civil War area was mezmorizing to me since very little is really written about Chicago during this time due to the Civil War being fought way further south. I wouldn't mind seeing this made in a movie, but something says it would not do it justice. I highly recommend it to everybody out there still wondering.
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