Book Review: The American Girl by Rachael English

May 22, 2017 Book review 8 ★★★★½

The American Girl by Rachael English is an evocative read flowing with emotions. Which in turn made me flow with tears. Featuring a horrible a theme about the treatment of an unmarried mother in the 1960s, all the more powerful as it was the truth for so many women.

Book Review: The American Girl by Rachael EnglishThe American Girl by Rachael English
Published by Hachette Books Ireland on April 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family Life, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Author

Boston 1968. Rose Moroney is seventeen, smart, spirited – and pregnant. She wants to marry her boyfriend. Her ambitious parents have other plans. She is sent to Ireland, their birthplace, to deliver her daughter in a Mother and Baby home. Against Rose's will, her baby is taken for adoption.
Dublin 2013. Martha Sheeran’s life has come undone. Her marriage is over, and her husband has moved on with unsettling speed. Under pressure from her teenage daughter, she starts looking for the woman who gave her up for adoption more than forty years before.
Martha's search for her birth mother leads her to the heart of long-buried family secrets and forces her to question everything she thought she knew. When her first love, Paudie Carmody, re-enters the frame, she's also forced to take a hard look at her own life.
From Boston to rural Ireland; from Dublin back to Boston, The American Girl is a heart-warming and enthralling story about mothers and daughters, love and cruelty and, ultimately, the struggle for acceptance – and the embrace of new horizons.

BOOKLOVE Must-Read Page-Turner Tear Jerker

First Line of The American Girl by Rachael English:

“Rose Moroney twirled around the bedroom.”

My Thoughts on The American Girl by Rachael English:

The thoughts that fly into my head when I think about this book are

  • Authentic characters
  • Heartbreaking storyline
  • An all round fab read

Rose is a 17 year-old girl from Boston who becomes pregnant in 1968. Her parents panic, and pack her off to a mother/baby “home” in Ireland. Watching Rose flounder in such unfamiliar surroundings, coping with her pregnancy, and struggle with her lack in power in the situation is devastating. Even worse is that it then traps her in a lifelong legacy of lies and secrets.

Martha is the second point of view in the book. The timeline is 2013, and the setting is Dublin. Martha while happy out with the life that her adoptive parents gave her, has always felt a lack in her life, as she doesn’t know her true roots. I enjoyed the leap to contemporary times, and it added another set of compelling characters to the plot.

The timelines of both women fill in the missing links between their stories in way that reels you into their lives. I connected, I related, and I raged. I found it hard to put the book down, but even when I did, I was still playing out the drama in my head.

When I was reading, I had to keep reminding myself that events like this actually happened. Women like Martha are still struggling to find their birth parents, and women like Rose endure a lifetime of wondering where their child is. The thought of this haunts me, and it makes this book feel very relevant, and even more appalling.

I engaged with the characters, and carried their pain in my heart while I read. So it was lovely to meet Marta’s daughter; she was so bouncy and enthusiastic, that she added a lovely light feel to the story. Plus I hugely appreciated the plot twists that hid along the pages.  They made certain parts of the story unexpected, and kept me turning pages rapidly.

Overall it’s a heck of a good read, and definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.


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


Who should read The American Girl by Rachael English?

I’d highly recommend this to you if you like emotional plot-lines, haunting characters, and family secrets. If you were a fan of Rachael’s previous books, then I think you’ll also enjoy this. Or if you read authors such as Diane Chamberlain, Sheila O’Flanagan, or Maeve Binchy; then you should also check this out.

Thanks to the author for giving me a copy of this book for review consideration. As always, no matter what the source of the book, you get my honest, unbiased opinion.


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8 Responses to “Book Review: The American Girl by Rachael English”

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I think I would really like this. I’ve watched a few shows that focus on the subject but they’re almost too emotional. I like the idea of this story as more of an outsider. The characters sound wonderful and while heartbreaking it also sounds like there’s a lot of warmth. I’m definitely adding this to my TBR.
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Buns – Contemporary Romance Review

    • trish

      It’s still very emotional to read about, but I loved it. The setting, and characters are just so memorable.

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