In 1839, Honora Keeley, days away from entering a convent, meets the love of her life on the bank of a river in Connemara. Blissfully unaware that the famine is rapidly approaching, Honora and Michael marry and begin their family amid the poverty of the Irish countryside. Basing this sweeping Irish family saga upon the experiences of her own family, documentary producer and journalist Kelly (Special Intentions) follows Honora and her family from Galway to Chicago, escaping starvation in search of Michael's brother Patrick. Reminiscent of Frank Delaney's Ireland, this novel focuses on the resilience and determination of the two million people who fled a callous government with nothing but hope from the perspective of Honora, her sister Maire, and their children. 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, 12/15/2008
Kelly uses a well-known chapter in Irish American history as a springboard for a vividly lavish historical novel. The mid-nineteenth-century potato famine in Ireland resulted in approximately one million deaths and one million emigrations. After leaving a desperate and depleted Ireland, Michael and Honora Kelly make their way to America. Eventually settling in Chicago, the Kellys and their children struggle to survive and thrive in the “Promised Land.” This multigenerational family saga mirrors the experiences of countless other immigrants who transformed both their own lives and the face of America. Kelly does an admirable job of conveying both the despair and the determination that gripped a generation of Irish immigrants. Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience.
— Booklist, 1/1/2009
If you've Irish ancestors you will marvel at their strength. Galway Bay is an amazing tale filled with old Irish legends and beautiful imagery. It's beautifully written and you'll be missing Honora and her family when it ends.
I can definitely recommend Galway Bay as compelling, and strong historical fiction with a little adventuring, warfare, and clean romance!
Full of captivating descriptions of the Irish countryside, charming characters, and Irish folklore.
‘Galway Bay’ [is] an Irish treat.
March 9, 2009 | People Magazine review Click here.
Feburary/March 2009 | Feature and review in the Irish America. Click here.
March 2009 | Featured in BookPage. Click here.
February 2009 | to read a review of Galway Bay in Spirit Airlines magazine. Click here.
February 2009 | Featured in National Geographic's Don George's Trip Lit. Click here.