Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home, by Hazel Gaynor

Maggie Murphy is leaving everything she loves behind in her small town in Ireland.  She leaves her friends, her home, and her love Seamus, to travel to America on the Titanic.  We all know that tragedies befell the passengers of that ship, but we learn that Maggie survived, and many years later shares the story with her great granddaughter.

I am fascinated by the stories of the Titanic.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have lived at the time when this happened.  I cannot imagine how it would have felt as the nation mourned this tragedy.  As someone who has enjoyed other books and movies on the topic, I felt certain I would enjoy this book.  And I did, though it was uncertain for a while.

The book starts off with excellent character development of Maggie.  We learn her backstory, and why she is reluctant to read.  We also get to know some other minor characters from the past, as well as some characters from the future.  The thing that put me off, just the slightest bit, was the amount of narrative switching, between past, present, letter, journals, telegrams, and different characters.  It all got to be too much.  I was glad when things straightened out a little more, and there were less narrative devices and voices.

I think the story was an excellent concept, and the writing was mostly solid.  I just think the execution of the book was a just a tiny bit clumsy.  I am all for historical accuracy, but I could have done without a lot of the historical telegrams and such that really played no part in the story.  Had the story focused more on the actual boat and all its passengers and crew, this would have been necessary.  However, since it was mostly just about Maggie, it did not make sense to include those things.  Again, just too many different narrative devices; it chopped up the flow of the text.

In general, however, I found the book interesting.  I think it will appeal to fans of historical fiction, particularly readers looking for a nice, sweet romance story.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.
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