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Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
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Galway Bay

by Mary Pat Kelly

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O us Irish descendants rejoice! Here is a book that breathes life into the perpetual struggle of the Irish people.
I loved this book. In fact I wish I wrote it! Because of years of researching my genealogy, the story of my family has been brewing in my head. And Mary Pat Kelly wrote it! This story is rich- with love, history, death, betrayal and beauty. It is well written, lyrical and believable. Not since I read Frank Delaneys' Ireland have I felt so connected to my Irish ancestry. Thank you Ms. Kelly!!!! ( )
1 vote hsudonym | Aug 2, 2011 |
I wanted to love Galway Bay, by Mary Pat Kelly. I was hoping it would be one of those really great sagas that stay with you forever. Sadly, I couldn't put this book behind me quick enough.

Much that I found fault with relates to Kelly's writing style. Not only did I find the dialogue to be a bit cloying, but more disappointing was her inability to bring her character's feelings across. There is never any proof or evidence of what her characters say they feel. They simply say it, (out of context), and so it should be. Additionally, for a novel supposedly about the hardships of the Irish people, the Kellys of the story always seem to come out on top; the magical Uncle Patrick never fails to show up just in the nick of time to save the day--for everyone--always. (Is that why Honora loves him?)

I think Ms. Kelly had the elements at hand to create a memorable novel, but lacked the skill. Hype over this book has been widely exaggerated, in my opinion. I wish her editor had brought a stronger hand to the project. ( )
1 vote dissed1 | Apr 9, 2011 |
My grandmother was among other things a big reader and a history buff. She loved history. She knew all kinds of stuff, random stuff, stuff no one else seemed to know. She collected facts like some collect bottle caps or stamps. She knew her stuff. And she knew where she came from and made sure that I did too.

I am a mutt, like most Americans I expect. Among many, many different ethnicities, I am Irish. My grandmother was a Moore, descended from the O’Mores or O’Mordha. I still have her family crest, framed and hanging on the wall. Best I can tell, the Moores came over well before the potato famine, but the famine did not go ignored by them. Although she was born after the famine, Mama knew all about that as well. And she had a healthy, shall we say, ‘non-appreciation,’ for the English.

So I came to Galway Bay with an excitement to learn more about my history and with the expectation to put a human face on the tragedy I had heard so much about. Mary Pat Kelly delivered that and so much more.

Galway Bay is the fictionalized story of Mary Pat Kelly’s great-great grandparents and their struggle to survive not only the Irish potato famine, but also the move from their beloved Ireland to America. We meet the young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly by the shores of Galway Bay. It’s love at first sight. They wed and start a family and their farm. They find solace from the troubles of their world in each other, their children, their faith, songs and stories of Ireland. These stories are shared, passed down generation by generation; and remains a theme throughout the book – the passing down of history by the ones who came before. Years of famine and abuse by the English government wear down on the family until; finally, they make the heart wrenching decision to move to America.

I won’t tell you any more. I don’t want to give too much away. But this tale to two sisters, their amazing strength, perseverance and faith is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and inspiring. The author did an amazing job of telling these stories of her ancestors and of Ireland. I highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t Irish, I think you’ll enjoy it. ( )
1 vote capriciousreader | Feb 20, 2011 |
I am very glad that I had the chance to read this book. This is the type of book that makes the past come alive; I loved the intimate and detailed look into past lives. I will admit for the first 80 pages or slow it was a slow read. I was enjoying it, but it was the type of book I read just a bit at a time. Then suddenly it just took off. This book offers and unflinching look at the past without being a horribly depressing book. Yes, it highlights the evils the English were perpetrating and the potato blight that would not die, but it also highlights the little joys in their day to day life. What separates books that wallow in misery and those that do not is hope, and this book is full of hope. Hope for a family, hope for a better life, hope for Amerikay. I feel I have a much better understanding of my ancestors, and I had a fun time while I was at it. :) ( )
  Bcteagirl | Jul 17, 2010 |
I enjoyed this book about Irish farmers who were forced to come to America after the great potato blight in Ireland. However, I kept getting confused with the dialect that is patently Irish; I did not discover until the end that there is a glossary in the back. Duh! At any rate, I did feel that once the family was in America, the story dragged a bit, and I found it harder to complete the novel. I'm going to give this another read in the hopes that I'll have a better time with it. ( )
  amandacb | Feb 21, 2010 |
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For Honora's children down through the generations
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Ah, the sun. Rising for me alone--the only one awake to see dawn fire the clouds and watch Galway Bay turn from gray to blue.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446579009, Hardcover)

Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In the bestselling tradition of Frank Delaney, Colleen McCullough, and Maeve Binchy comes a poignant historical family saga set against Ireland's Great Starvation and the building of Chicago."--Provided by the publisher.

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