Review: The Girl Who Came Home

Title: The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic 18505836

Author: Hazel Gaynor

Rating: ★★1/2

Provided Synopsis: 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.

Review: In terms of a story based upon the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic, I think The Girl Who Came Home is the same as most of the books that have already been published. A young girl from Ireland travels with thirteen other members of her Irish village — in steerage — to America and the hope of a better future. Yet there is always a layer of doom to shadow over every sentence. The reader knows how the story will go — many of these characters with so much life ahead of them will not survive, and it is tragic no matter how many times you have hear the story.

So why did I read this book? I think it was because I am a sucker for love stories, especially when the main character of the book is separated from the one she loves as Maggie is. After the death of her mother, Maggie must leave Ireland in the care of her Aunt Kathleen, but she can feel no joy about the promise of a new life when it means she has to leave her sweetheart, Seamus, behind. Before she leaves for the ship Seamus gives Maggie a pack of fourteen letters he has written for her to represent the fourteen months of their courtship. As the story alters between the events of 1912 with the storyline of Maggie’s great-granddaughter being told of that cold April night, the reader learns that Maggie was never able to read all of those letters because she lost the coat that held them on the night the Titanic sunk. I wanted to know what those letters had said, and I hoped she would be able to find them again or possibly reconnect with Seamus, so that is why I read this book.

If you are on the lookout for something incredibly different in the Titanic set storyline, then I think you will be disappointed. This is simply a story of people told rather quickly, which was a problem because I wished this story had more depth rather than a rushed gloss. The lives of the characters are created, but none of them are very dimensional to offer the gravitas that I believe even fictional members of this voyage deserve.

 

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