I have mentioned Hazel Gaynor quite a lot on my blog, so it's about time I reviewed her book, don't you think? Firstly a little history, I first heard of Hazel when I saw her interviewed on TV3 about her parenting blog. I also followed her writing posts on writing.ie and I was delighted when she announced that she had a book deal and her novel would be published in April this year. I was determined to go along to the launch and a few weeks before hand when I was in New York with my brother I saw The Girl Who Came Home on a table in Barnes & Noble so I couldn't resist it. I made it to the launch details HERE and I also interviewed Hazel HERE and finally I invited Hazel and her good friend Carmel Harrington to do a signing event at Waterstones Drogheda before spending the evening with Hazel at my blogging friend Margaret's house details HERE
The Girl Who Came Home is a novel about the Titanic and that was enough to get me interested but it was even more enticing as it is based on some real people who traveled on the famous liner. The Addergoole Fourteen were a real group of friends, family and neighbours from County Mayo who were travelling to make a new life in America, all but three of them died. The story of this tragic group inspired Hazel's fictional account she has changed names and amalgamated some of the people to create composite characters. The writing is wonderful and I loved Hazel's portrayal of the life in steerage class and for the crew, as this the side of Titanic we don't usually see. The story also revolves around Grace Butler a journalism student forced to drop out of college, but when her great grandmother decides to finally tell her Titanic story Grace has the chance for the story that will help get her career back on track. I loved this book. It's a perfect book club read and I would recommend it to anyone with it an interest in Titanic or in the history of Irish emigration. Perfect if you are a fan of Katherine Webb, Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley and Kate Kerrigan.
(I was delighted to learn that my sister in law and her Mum both recently read this book and loved it.)