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By Hazel Gaynor
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 4/1/2014
My Rating: 3 Stars
The GIRL WHO CAME HOME is a story about the Titanic with the main character, Maggie, a seventeen year old woman leaving her sweetheart behind in Ireland to travel to a new life in America, along with 13 others in the little village.
Having led a sheltered life, there were many experiences while on board which were described in depth.
Maggie was a young Irish woman in 1912 about to travel on the ill-fated Titanic and is intertwined with Grace her granddaughter in 1982. Maggie’s story motivates Grace to move on with flashbacks between 1912 and 1982, with multiple points of view from travelers of the same Irish village.
When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanic that she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.
A fictional account inspired by a real group of travelers who left Ireland to visit relatives in America. Maggie's parents have both died and her aunt Kathleen has come to Ireland, taking Maggie back to Chicago with her. While there, others have decided to join them in making the journey. Maggie is sad to be leaving her boyfriend, Seamus, behind. His father is sick so he won't be able to come, but tells her he'll be waiting for her to come home.
Lucky Harry, and Grace Butler, Maggie's great-granddaughter are also part of the story, as Harry is one of the stewards on the ship --Maggie and her friends get to know and later helps her get into one of the last lifeboats to leave. Grace's story takes place in Illinois in 1982. Grace's life was going well until her father died. She left college and her boyfriend, Jimmy, to help her mother. Maggie starts to help her get her life back, starting with telling her about her journey on the Titanic, a story she has never told anyone. Learning her great-grandmother's story gives Grace the courage to move on with her life.
When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.
Grace was able to learn what was important to her and to go for it before it was too late and Maggie was able to do something she longed to do and was able to make peace. I did enjoy the section at the end of the book as the author shares the story behind the book and which parts were based on fact.
Inspired by true events, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, blends fact and fiction, exploring the Titanic tragedy's impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants, which was bittersweet.