Friday, February 19, 2016

The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

    • The Girl Who Came Home (A Novel of the Titanic) by Hazel Gaynor
    • Published April 1, 2014
    • Other books by the author:
      • A Memory of Violets (A Novel of London's Flower Sellers)
      • The Girl from the Savoy

    • The novel takes a real story about the RMS Titanic and fictionalizes it.
    • Fourteen people from an Irish village emigrate to America on the Titanic as third class passengers.
    • The story is mostly told through a 17-year-old girl named Maggie and, 70 years later in 1982, her granddaughter Grace.
    • Maggie has lost both her parents and is moving to Chicago to live with her aunt but she has to leave behind her sweetheart Seamus.
    • The Titanic sinks in April 1912 (oops, spoiler alert) and we know from the start that Maggie survives because she's alive in 1982 but who else makes it and whatever became of her Irish sweetheart?

    • I am a fairly big Titanic buff but I did not know about the Addergoole 14. They left Ireland on the Titanic and only 3 survived, a huge loss to the small village. The story handles the outcome differently, however, so the fictional survivor total may or may not match.
    • The book was fine. I enjoyed the details of how the novel's passengers, all third class, viewed their accommodations. And the sinking is always tense, no matter the venue.
    • The book suffers in one big way: comparisons to the film "Titanic". 
      • Maggie could be Rose (Kate Winslet's character) if Rose was in third class. Grace could be elderly Rose's (Gloria Stuart's character) granddaughter. 
      • Most of us have seen Kate and Leo and the sinking of the Titanic. You picture those scenes as you read. It's difficult not to!
      • There's a plot point involving missing letters similar to the film's missing "Heart of the Ocean" necklace. 
      • The ship has not been found yet in the book's story so there is no corresponding discovery vessel scene but the book in fact ends on September 1, 1985, the day Titanic's wreck was found by Robert Ballard and his team.
    • I am planning to read the author's novel about London flower girls. Since I know nothing about them (okay, except for Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady") it should be easier to keep from making comparisons.

    • Survey time! Should I include spoilers or plot synopses for the fiction books I read?
    • Sometimes I just want to know how a book ends without having to read it.
    • I think I will stick to my "sometime yes, sometimes no" methodology unless I hear some opinions on the subject. Thanks!
    • Okay, I lied. One small spoiler: Maggie ends up marrying a man named James, not Seamus. Hmmm....need I say more?


  1. Please include spoilers, labeled as such, of course. When I think Titanic, I think Kate Winslet, too. Fun fact: Addergoole is in a county called Mayo. I guess that is better than Miracle Whip.

    1. Isn't your personal opinion that EVERYTHING is better than Miracle Whip?