Galway Bay: Book summary and reviews of Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

Galway Bay

by Mary Pat Kelly

Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly X
Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2009
    576 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Despite its flaws, the novel may appeal to fans of Frank McCourt and Irish history, as the trials of the Kelly family echo the struggle of the Irish to assimilate while retaining their own heritage." - Publishers Weekly.

"This readable and highly personal novel of the Irish experience is an excellent addition to the already rich collection of Irish historical fiction. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.

"A satisfying tale, with few surprises for those who know the territory, but no false steps." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience." - Booklist.

"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, author of Angela's Ashes.

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Reader Reviews

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Miss Kitty

Excellent historical drama
Was a bit tricky to get used to reading the accents, but truly helps enjoy full immersion into the story. Rich in detail and expression of a real, Irish to America family life.

kathy

best I heave ever read
I loved every moment of it and would love to see the movie!

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Author Information

Mary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly is also the author of a novel Special Intentions, and nonfiction on subjects as varied as Martin Scorcese and the rescue of Scott O'Grady from Bosnia. In her life, she has been everything from a nun to a documentary filmmaker to a producer of short films for "Saturday Night Live". She lives in New York, NY.

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