Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic

Title:  The Girl Who Came Home:  A novel of the Titanic
Author:  Hazel Gaynor
Publication Information:  William MorrowHaper Collins Publishers. 2014. 362 pages.
ISBN:  0062316869 / 978-0062316868

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "I don't think there are enough words to describe this amazing ship or how it feels to be floating on top of the ocean."

The Girl Who Came Home is a story of the Titanic. It is based on the true story of the Addergoole Fourteen, fourteen Irish immigrants who boarded the Titanic to sail to a new life in America. Eleven perished when the Titanic sank, and three survived. The Addergoole Titanic Society believes that this loss was the largest proportionate loss of any single community represented on the Titanic.

This book follows the story of seventeen year old Maggie Murphy. The story begins as Maggie and her group are about to begin the voyage. She is leaving the only home she has ever known, and the young man she loves. She is leaving with her aunt and a group of others for a new life. She is also leaving with a stack of letters from her young man to remind her of home and of him.

The book title tells you what Maggie's story is and how it ends. It is a story of the Titanic, and we all know what happened to the Titanic. Since the title is "the girl who came home," we know that Maggie survives. The question is what else is this book about - how she comes to the Titanic, what happens on board before the sinking, or what comes after? The other question is how is this story told- does it bring something new or something different to this history to make it a compelling read.

That is where the other side of this book comes in. Grace is Maggie's great-granddaughter. She learns that Maggie is a survivor of the Titanic disaster and sets out to learn more. She has lost her focus since the death of her father, and this search gives her direction to go on.

The book travels back and forth through descriptions of what happened on the Titanic, through excerpts from Maggie's journal, and through Grace's search. Sprinkled throughout the book are replications of actual documents from Titanic history.

I did not find the book or most of the characters compelling. I enjoyed it in that it introduced me to the history of the Addergoole Fourteen. I wish it had developed that aspect more - with the back stories of the travellers and the repercussions in the community after the tragedy - rather than the multi-layered approach of the descriptions, Grace's search, and Maggie's journal.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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