Mar 17, 2009

Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

Welcome to the March Early Birds Tour from Hachette Group and Grand Central Publishing for Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly on this fine St. Patrick's Day. As an added treat with my review, please check out the discussion with Mary Pat Kelly on BlogTalkRadio at 11 AM-12PM EST.

"I was used to the give-and-take of a large family, where one broke in on the other, splintering sentences, bouncing thought away from meaning. But Michael and I listened to each other, each waiting as the other found words for what we'd never said before, never even thought before, giving shape to dreams and to fears. I'd no idea I was such a worrier--the ifs and buts that flowed out of me. Michael teased them away." (Page 105-106)

Sweeping novels that span several generations must be well-crafted to hold readers' attention, especially if the historical novel is going to be more than 500 pages. Mary Pat Kelly's Galway Bay will suck readers in, churn them in rip currents, and spit them out in untamed America along with the Kellys, Leahys, Keeleys, and other Irish immigrants fleeing their homeland during the repeated potato blights and following The Great Starvation.

Honora Keeley is set upon entering the convent until she meets the dashing novice adventurer Michael Kelly. She's a fisherman's daughter with a rich heritage steeped in lore and myth and he's the son of a blacksmith forced out of his home when his parents die and the blacksmith shop is no longer his family's anchor. They find each other in the good times and suffer through the potato blight, famine, the cruelty of the Sassenach (English) and landlords, and the rise of Protestantism. After a great deal of sacrifice and heartache, the Kellys have no choice but to flee their homeland to begin again in Amerikay.

Kelly's poetic prose places the reader beside Honora as she makes her way through thick fog, a fog that has brought blight on potato farms in the past. It also will have the reader cringing as they stick their hands in the dirt, finding muck rather than hard potatoes to feed their bellies.

"The fog wrapped itself around me, heavy and moist. I'll go along the strand--faster, and the tide's out. I could hear the waves hitting against the fingers of rocks that stretched out into the water, but the fog hid the Bay from me." (Page 120)

"I crawled to another patch and plunged my hand into the foul-smelling mess. I felt a hard lump--a good potato. But when I grabbed it, the potato fell apart in my hand, oozing through my fingers." (Page 128)

Kelly creates well rounded characters from strong-willed Honora to her quirky grandmother and from gifted storyteller Michael Kelly to quick witted Maire. Frank McCourt's quote on the cover of Galway Bay is spot on, this book will have readers laughing, crying, and cheering Honora and Maire onward. Kelly's narrative will bring readers to tears more than once, but as they struggle alongside Honora and her family, they too will grow stronger and more aware of the blessings family can bring. Galway Bay is a mixture of narrative poetry and prose that generates its own folklore that will be told from generation to generation for years to come. It will be on my top 10 list for 2009, how about yours?


***Giveaway Details***

From Hachette Group, three copies of Galway Bay for three lucky U.S. or Canada readers; No P.O. Boxes please.

I will spring for one copy of Galway Bay for one lucky international reader outside the U.S. and Canada, so make sure you let me know who you are.

To Enter:


1. Leave a comment other than "pick me" or "enter me."

2. Spread the word about the contest and leave a link here for a second entry.

3. Share your favorite St. Patrick's Day tradition for a third entry.

Deadline is March 24, 5PM EST


About the Author:
As an author and filmmaker, Mary Pat Kelly has told various stories connected to Ireland. Her award-winning PBS documentaries and accompanying books include To Live for Ireland, a portrait of Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume and the political party he led; Home Away from Home: The Yanks in Ireland, a history of U.S. forces in Northern Ireland during World War II; and Proudly We Served: The Men of the USS Mason, a portrayal of the only African-American sailors to take a World War II warship into combat, whose first foreign port was Belfast. She wrote and directed the dramatic feature film Proud, starring Ossie Davis and Stephen Rea, based on the USS Mason story.
She’s written Martin Scorsese: The First Decade and Martin Scorsese: A Journey; Good to Go: The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia; and a novel, Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine.
Mary Pat Kelly worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter for Paramount and Columbia Pictures and in New York City as an associate producer with Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, and wrote the book and lyrics for the musical Abby’s Song. She received her PhD from the City University of New York.
Born and raised in Chicago, she lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her husband, Web designer Martin Sheerin from County Tyrone.
Check out her blog for Galway Bay, here.
Check out the Book Club Discussion Guide, here.
"An Honor" by Mary Pat Kelly about her journey through Galway Bay and her heritage.
Check out this Guest Post at A Bookworm's World from Mary Pat Kelly herself; It's very inspiring.




Check out the other Blogs on the tour, here.

***GIVEAWAY REMINDER***

I also have two copies of Diana Raab's My Muse Undresses Me and one copy of Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You. Deadline is March 18 at 5PM EST.

One gently used ARC of Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas; Deadline is March 20 at Midnight EST.

Also Reviewed By:
Historical Tapestry

76 comments:

Alyce said...

No need to enter me, I just wanted to stop by and see what you thought of the book. Wonderful review by the way! You articulated exactly what I struggled to say in my review. :)

Marg said...

I am definitely interested in reading this! As an international reader I thank you for giving us the opportunity to win!

Gwendolyn B. said...

I'm really eager to read this book -- I've heard nothing but good things about it for the last month! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Kaye said...

Don't enter me either, I am on the tour. I'm glad to see you liked the book as well. Ms. Kelly is a fantastic storyteller. I just hated to see the book end. Your review is wonderful.

Blodeuedd said...

International reader here :D
I'd like this book cos one of my first love will always be historical books, and i do love the Irish.

Well since we don't celebrate St Paddy's I can't say what i would like the most. But I do like to see in movies when they have a parade, and goes out to drink lol

Anna said...

So glad you enjoyed this book. It was wonderful!

No need to enter me, of course, but I posted your giveaway in my sidebar.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Toni said...

I love your review Serena. Happy Blog Day. Alyce is right you really put into words some of the things I had in mind to say but couldn't eek out.

Serena said...

Toni: Thanks for the kind words. I took a long while with this review because I adored the book so much. I really had so much to say and so many passages marked...but I had to pare down! LOL

anniegirl1138 said...

My dad's family came from Ireland, mostly during the Potato famine.

I'd like to read this.

Dar said...

No need to enter me Serena. Just wanted to say fantastic review and that I loved this book also which you already knew. lol.

Indigo said...

Irish culture has always fascinated me. I can't imagine living through depending on a crop and have it blighted. In some ways it almost reminds me of America's version of "The Grapes of Wrath". I would love to be entered in this drawing. Thanks! Indigo

ravensquietscreams@gmail.com

April said...

What an excellent post, Serena! I agree with everything you said and loved that you included snippets from thoughout the book!!! (no need to enter me in the drawing)
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Nicole said...

No need to enter me. Just going around and reading what everyone thought of the book. There were definitely some spots where I felt tears coming into my eyes.

Bridget said...

I've heard great things about this book and would love to win. Don't really have a St. Patty's Day tradition other than pulling out my shamrock earrings and wearing green today! I also posted this on Win A Book. bridgetjarsulic@comcast.net

Amanda said...

Oh I've been reading all sorts of great reviews for this book and have been wanting to read it. I noticed on her blog/website that she's written other historical non-fiction books. I like that. I took a history of Ireland class back when I was an undergrad and loved it. Thanks for the giveaway! Oh, and our tradition is obviously to drink Guinness. My husband and I had our first date over a pint of Guinness so it's tradition :)

Serena said...

Thanks for entering or stopping by to check out this post. I cannot praise this book enough.

Amanda: Great tradition. I agree wholeheartedly! Hubby and I will be doing some celebrating after work today ourselves.

Bridget: Thanks for posting the giveaway and for entering.

good luck to everyone.

Lenore said...

I am both international and US so enter me where I have a better chance of winning ;)

Serena said...

Lenore: You are too cute! Probably internationally.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! I love historical fiction, and don't know much about Irish history, so this would give me a great chance to learn.

F. M. Meredith, author said...

What a perfect book for St. Patrick's day.

It's not necessary to enter me in the contest--but I loved reading about this book, sounds wonderful.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I would love to read another Irish family saga - I loved Trinity. Thanks!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Serena said...

F.M. Meredith: Thank you for taking the time to read my review of this book. I adored it.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I tweeted about your contest at @rhapsodyinbooks. Thanks!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Trish said...

I've heard so many great things about this one today--I'm so glad you liked this one as well. Especially top 10 for the year! I'd love to be entered for the giveaway. No traditions except for green beer. :) And my green sweater, of course.

olympianlady said...

This book sounds really good. Any book featuring Irish history always interests me. Please enter me. Thanks!

tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

olympianlady said...

I also blogged this at: http://olympianlady.livejournal.com/6087.html

Thanks!

tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

olympianlady said...

My favorite St. Patrick's day tradition has alway been wearing something green. But I also like how we alway have potatoes at dinner, to subtly remind us of Irish history.

tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

S. Krishna said...

I'd love to be entered! I've been hearing nothing but great things about this book. Thanks!

teabird said...

I know very little about this period of Irish history - this would be a welcome introduction for me!
teabird 17 at yahoo dot com

traymona said...

Historical fiction is the perfect way to learn about past history without being it dry or boring.
traymona[at]aol.com

MJ said...

I love historical fiction. I've been reading the reviews and this sounds great!

MJ said...

I teach kindergarten. AS for tradition, Luck the Leprechaun visits my classroom while we are at lunch. He wrecks the room, leaves treats - today a real penny from Ireland, mint chocolate ice cream and a Werthers caramel! But, didja know, he has green urine. He used our bathroom & didn't flush!!! EEEWWWW!!! The kids love it!! They all drew toilets in their journals!!!

naida said...

wow, it's made it to your top 10 list for 2009. this does sound like a great read, and I like the cover!
great post :)
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

songbirdz said...

I've been hearing a lot about this today, and it looks great! I've been meaning to read up on Ireland - about, or by Irish writers, and this looks like a nice start. Please enter me, thanks =) lpmccann(at)gmail.com

Luanne said...

No need to enter me. Yep this is definitely on my top 10 for 2009. I was so caught up in the lives of the Keeleys and Kellys, I didn't want it to end...

The Giveaway Diva said...

io have no tradition for saint pattricks day but i really think i should start one!!

The Giveaway Diva said...

wow heard some great things about this book from other books! really interested in reading it!

Stephen K said...

I've been reading a lot of historical fiction lately, but not a thing related to Irish history. In fact, I can't even think of any books off the top of my head on the topic that I've seen while browsing the shelves in my library. I'd definitely like a chance to win, so enter me please. :)

bridget3420 said...

I would really love to read this book:)

bridget3420(at)yahoo(dot)com

Valorie said...

The only books I've ever read that contain Irish history are by Frank McCourt. They've definitely been through a lot, and with a rich history. I unfortunately don't know much of their history, which I need to remedy as soon as possible.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Blogged your contest:
http://www.morbid-romantic.net/2009/03/16/book-giveaways-0316-0322/

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

The tradition I love most of all is definitely the wearing green. I love the color green.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

darbyscloset said...

I guess everyone would like a copy of this book....yet really, I really do...being Irish, I would love to read more about my background and I know so little...shame on me!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Monica said...

Hey Serena! This book sounds really intriguing. I love books that look at the span of generations -- have you read the Story of Edgar Sawtelle? It kinda bounces back between his dad, him, and his uncle and its really neat to see the difference between the two generations.

P.S. My fave St.Paddy's tradition is pinching anyone who ISN'T wearing green on the 17th!

Dawn M. said...

I have to admit that I don't really know much about Irish history and their journey to America. But after reading the summary, it sounds rather gripping. I think I'll be seeing if the library has this one.

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Serena said...

Monica: I have not read Story of Edgar Sawtelle, but it is on my TBR list on good reads...someday I hope to get to it.

Good luck everyone.

Becca said...

Please enter me. I love historical fiction and this is a subject I haven't read much about so I would love to learn more. It sounds like it is a beautiful story. Thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

carolsnotebook said...

I would love to be entered. I find the Irish and their history fascinating.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

Linda said...

I love family stories, and esp. anything Irish. Please enter my name in the giveaway. For another entry: re. St. Patrick's Day traditions -- since this is also my daughter's birthday I always call her, and we discuss what we are wearing that is green.

Marie Burton said...

First off, Love your Blog, Tink Approved is cute..
And yes I would like to enter for this book, I am trying very hard to enter everywhere because this is a book I know I will LOVE.

Thanks for the opportunity, keep up the good work.

MarieBurton2004(At)yahoo(dot)com

Stephanie said...

Cool giveaway!

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me. I just wanted to say I loved your review and the book!

Jodi said...

Please count me in on this giveaway too. I'd love to read this book. I think my most favorite St. Patrick's Day tradition is the wearing of green because it's one of my most fav colors!

Alabama Book Worm said...

This book sounds so good. I read your review yesterday and went right out to my local bookstore to get it and they were sold out! Please enter me in the giveaway.

Jo-Jo said...

I love family sagas, especially when they bring you to another country or culture. I would love to win this one!
joannelong74@gmail.com

Jo-Jo said...

I'm not Irish myself so I don't really have any St. Patrick's Day traditions. But the one that I always thought was cute would be the green beer...even though I'm not a beer drinker either.
joannelong74@gmail.com

Ramya said...

hey.. this book has suddenly caught my eye! My opened my reader yesterday and found so many reviews for this book that it made me totally curious..after reading some of the reviews, i've decided that i'd be interested in giving this book a shot! please enter my name for the giveaway!

ramyasbookshelf(at)gmail(dot)com

Suey said...

I've been hearing such wonderful wonderful things about this book so I would love to be entered! And as far as St. Patrick's Day traditions...we don't have any. Well, we try to wear green. But even that only happens if we actually remember what day it is! That's kinda sad too, because we even have Irish ancestry. Oh, well.

Amanda said...

This sounds like an interesting story! I have a bit of Irish ancestry, but we really don't have any St Pat's day traditions. I'm a bit past the idea of getting drunk on green beer or Guinness for breakfast, as happens in the city (Sydney)!

I'd love to be entered into the draw for the international copy. Thanks for having an international draw!

nellista (at) yahoo (dot) com (dot) au

Marie said...

I've heard such good things about this book. I'd love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks.

lazydaisy0413[at]yahoo[dot]com

Jo-Jo said...

I've also blogged about your contest here.
joannelong74@gmail.com

Tara said...

This book sounds great and I would love to be entered. I really like to go to a local St Patrick's day celebration where there is lots of music and Irish dance to watch!

nfmgirl said...

I've been hearing such great things about this book, and would love a chance to win. Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Marg said...

I blogged about the giveaway here

Bcteagirl said...

I have been reading so many positive reviews of this book, I would love to read it. I do love historical fiction.

Favourite St. Patrick's day tradition: I am not sure if this is a tradition yet, but each year we hold a bake sale to raise money for a local women's shelter. Last year was on valentine's day, this year was on St. Patrick's. We made baking, cards, and chocolate pops (shamrocks, green flowers, etc). We earned 260$! That has to be lucky right?

Shelley said...

I'm reading Ireland by Frank Delany right now, and would love to add this to my Irish reading list!
Our St. Patrick's Day tradition is to listen to a CD of Irish Folk Tales and eat Irish soda bread.

Marie said...

I really would love to read this book since I come from a family that is very proud of it's Irish heritage :-)

vmlay@artsci.wustl.edu

LynnS/AAR said...

I read your review and the Historical Tapestry review, and I think I'd like this book very much.

favorite St. Patrick's Day tradition - going out for corned beef, cabbage and a pint of Guinness

lspenceraar AT hotmail DOT com

Cheryl S. said...

I love reading books about Irish heritage & culture - please count me in!

Thanks,
megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

Cheryl S. said...

Probably my favorite St. Patrick's Day tradition would be the wearing of the green.

megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

Corinne said...

I SERIOUSLY loved this book, seriously. You did a great review :)

Conrad said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Joannah

http://keyboardpiano.net

Serena said...

Corinne: Thanks for your compliments. I really adored Mary Pat's writing.

Joannah: Thank you for stopping by and continuing to read. I hope that you find these entries of interest and feel free to comment any time. Its great to see new names in the comments. I hope you will take the time to answer my poll and check out the other features here as well. Thanks for leaving your url. I will check that out next.

sheela said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Sarah

http://www.craigslistpostingtools.info

Veens said...

Wow! Sounds terrific!

Serena said...

Veens: Thanks for checking out the review. It was a fantastic book.