Doesn’t everyone love all things Irish? I’m Irish by marriage only, but there is still a pull – a magical land, wonderful music, good beer… Here are a couple of great books featuring Ireland by Irish authors that came out this summer.
This is the follow-up novel to Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan, and now we find Ellie back in Ireland with her husband, running her own businesses and struggling with her inability to have children. But when her husband dies suddenly, Ellie runs from all she loves, unable to deal with the grief, back to New York City. She finds the city changed from her previous time there, and her plans of shopping and dining with old friends are overshadowed by the realities of the Great Depression. Trying to distract herself from dealing with her grief, Ellie throws herself into opening homes, in a commune-like setting, for the homeless. It seems to be working until one day someone from her past shows up at the door, opening up new emotions and possibilities, while eventually forcing her to confront her grief, and eventually to return to Ireland and face her past.
I didn’t like this installment of the series as much as the first, but it may just be that it suffers from the 2nd-in-a-trilogy syndrome, and the third book will pull me back in. In spite of Ellie’s generosity and charity to others, I found her to be annoyingly self-centered and overly proud of herself and her independence in this book. Having said that, I was still anxious to see what would become of her, and was pulled in by the descriptions of that time in NYC and by the people that surrounded her.
Title: City of Hope
Author: Kate Kerrigan
Publication: William Morrow Paperbacks, June 2013
Dear Lucy Silchester,
You have an appointment for Monday, May 30.
Lucy has been making a real mess of her life, and now her life wants to sit down and talk about it. Ever since she split with her boyfriend, things have unraveled and she has created an immense web of lies to keep others from asking too many questions. She lives in a crappy apartment, has a job that she hates with people she dislikes, her car is breaking down, her relationship with her family is strained, and her friends are beginning to question her honesty and commitment. Turns out that Life is actually a run-down man who wants her to focus on her Life and turn things around. He follows her everywhere – to work, out with her friends, and to meet with her family – puzzling everyone and frustrating Lucy. Eventually, Lucy learns to love her Life, and to face the choices she has made and the lies she has told.
Lucy got on my nerves sometimes – can’t lie about that – maybe it was her ability to effortlessly lie about EVERYTHING or her inability to make a smart decision! But I loved Life – his humor, his patience, and his commitment to getting things right. The idea of Lucy’s Life actually being another person seems implausible and awkward, and it was at first, but soon it seemed natural and obvious. The message was obvious – the need for each of us to take the time to focus on our own lives once and awhile. Overall, it was a fun read, with plenty of humor in Lucy’s interactions with Life.
Title: The Time of My Life
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication: William Morrow Paperbacks, April 2013