Book Review: The Girl Who Came Home : A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor

June 23, 2015 Book review 7 ★★★★½

This book blew me away with how much I felt whilst reading. I was far, far away in the distant past on that most infamous of all ships and believing and living every agonising moment.

Book Review: The Girl Who Came Home : A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel GaynorThe Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 1st 2014
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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.

First Line of The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor:

“Maggie Murphy stood alone and unnoticed on the doorstep of the thatched stone cottage that three generations of her family had called home.”

My Thoughts on The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor:

I love all things Titanic and so was highly anticipating this book, especially as I had already loved A Memory of Violets by the same author. However I was also a little afraid that the book would have nothing new to offer. The story of the Titanic and its ill-fated voyage is already so well documented in documentary, film and print versions that I wasn’t sure if there was anything left to be said on the subject.

Well I was happy to be proven wrong. This story focuses on a group of young Irish immigrants who board the Titantic as the first leg on their journey to a new life in the US. The main character is Maggie who is leaving the love of her life behind and so has very mixed feelings about leaving Ireland. I was attracted to her personality from the very first page and her innocence and naïvety were thoroughly refreshing.

I loved that this book focused on steerage class and what conditions were like there rather than in the opulent surroundings that you usually picture when thinking of the Titanic. And when disaster did hit, I felt every emotion while reading. Major lump in the throat moments and my heart felt panicked at the descriptions that I could picture so clearly. It was so poignant and distressing that no amount of blinking could keep those pesky tears back.

The only part of the book that I didn’t love quite as much as the rest was the inclusion of Maggie’s great granddaughter in the more contemporary setting of 1982. I thought that it wasn’t hugely necessary. I didn’t hate it; it just didn’t capture my attention in the same way.

I did love the theme of the book about the fragility of life and how quickly everything can change. It made me want to embrace what I have and not take things for granted. And this is something I found also with Hazel’s other book (A Memory of Violets), her books just inspire and encourage me.

Overall this is book about human suffering and human enduring which gave me all the warm fuzzies as well as all the tears. Loved it!


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-half-stars


Who should read The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor?

I’d highly recommend this to you if you like emotional plots with a colourful setting and characters that melt your heart. Fans of authors such as Elaine Crowley and Sheila O’Flanangan should also enjoy.


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7 Responses to “Book Review: The Girl Who Came Home : A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor”

    • trish

      Oh yay, hope you love it. I’m such a fan of the setting even though I knew it would break my heart!

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