Galway Bay...#Book Review

About the book:
One family’s epic journey captures both the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience—and echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself …

In a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family. Because they and their countrymen must sell both their catch and their crops to pay exorbitant rents, potatoes have become their only staple food.

But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees—victims saving themselves—in the emigration from Ireland.

Danger and hardship await them in America. Honora, her unconventional sister Máire, and their children help transform Chicago from a frontier town to the “City of the Century.” The boys go on to fight in the Civil War and enlist in the cause of Ireland’s freedom.

Spanning six generations and filled with joy, sadness, and heroism, Galway Bay sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today’s forty-four million Irish Americans—and is a universal story you will never forget.

"Epic" is the first word I would use to describe Galway Bay. The words "rich" and "lyrical" would follow. Mary Pat Kelly fully captures the tragedy and triumph of the 19th century Irish emigration.

Michael and Honora Kelly, young newlyweds, begin their life together on a small patch of land overlooking Galway Bay. Michael is a bagpiper and blacksmith by trade. He's the owner of a prized racehorse and plans to breed her and sell the colts. Honora's family are hardworking fishermen and she and Michael plant potatoes to feed their family and pay the required rents to their English landlords.

The plight of the Irish is well-documented. The English, who came in and took over, tried to do all they could to force the proud Irish people from their lands. Their heartless cruelty comes through, and these strong people resist as long as they can. But, after blight kills the potatoes three times in four years, Michael and Honora finally realize they need to leave Ireland for America.

Danger and adventure await them in America as Honora, her sister Maire and their seven sons set forth to find Chicago and Michael's brother, Patrick. The strength of these two women is remarkable and inspiring. Based on the author's great-great-grandmother, Honora's story is one that will captivate you. The Irish people have a strong reputation for storytelling and Galway Bay is the fascinating story of a woman who wants to protect her family and her Irish heritage.

Thanks to Miriam Parker at Hatchette Books and the Early Bird Blog Tour for the opportunity to review this book. You can find out more about Mary Pat Kelly here.  You can purchase your own copy of this book here.

See these book bloggers for other reviews of this book.

Read 3/09

* * * * *
5/5 Stars


  1. So glad you loved this book, Holly! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  2. I really adored this book as well!

  3. I'm glad you liked the book. I did as well!

  4. Epic, rich and lyrical are perfect descriptive words for this book. I thought it was wonderful.

  5. Rich and Lyrical are perfect ways to describe the book. Happy Blog Tour day!

  6. I just adored this book! As I was reading it, it reminded me so much of Gone With The Wind and the richness it had to it! It really is one that you can savor again and again!

  7. Great review! I really liked this one too!

  8. |Wasn't it a great read! Epic is a great description.

  9. I agree with you - I thought this book was marvelous.

  10. Hi Holly!

    My second book, "Life is Tough - I Doubt I'll Make it Out Alive" is out and I'm doing another virtual blog/Facebook tour prior to Mother's Day.

    I am asking a few people who were on the last tour if they'd like to be a part of this one too. I'd send the books out within a day or two and have the tour run through April.

    Are you game? If so, email me at and let me know....

    All my best,
    Stacy G. Anderson

  11. Wasn't this book grea? :) Glad you liked it too!

  12. Just dropping by to let you know I have a super give-away contest running this week (and every week) on my LDS blog at Not Entirely British

    This time, the prize is a copy of award-winning author Annette Lyon's latest release in her Temple series - Tower of Strength.

  13. I really want to read this one! I think I've entered about five giveaways!


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