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Galway Bay Paperback – February 28, 2011
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"[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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Mary Pat Kelly
Grand Central Publishing
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Made me laugh & cry. I really enjoyed the way it made the historical experiences personal from the view of a family.Published 2 months ago by Barbara J Dejesus
While I knew the history because it's "my people" I still found it deeply depressing. The "old people" in my family rarely spoke of the atrocities and taught us... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alice Trunzo
Lots of interesting facts of that time. The first forty pages were torture. I almost gave up . The author is not the best stoy teller. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Anna Roberts
What a tribute to Irish Americans, in fact to all Irish. This story of the hardships endured in Ireland during the great famine of the 1800's, the yoke of poverty that was endured... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jessica Gerard
Absolutely love this book! Great history of Ireland thrown in with a compelling story.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer