Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Galway BayGalway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have ancestors who suffered through the potato famine in Ireland, came to Amerikay and settled in Chicago much like the characters in Galway Bay. And my great-grandma was also named Honora as is the main character. (Though great-grandma was born in Vermont, not Ireland.) I had to read this book! I was not disappointed.

Not only was the story of the famine heart-wrending and fascinating, but so was the early history of Chicago. I grew up in Chicago and the names and places were brought to life in a way I hadn't known before. Marshall Field's, for instance. My great-aunt was a buyer there shortly after the period in the book, and my grandma and mother both worked there, too.

I felt connections and threads to my own family. Something came alive in me that had been hovering in the background all my life. Very moving.

The book is well-written and moves well. I recommend it to anyone interested in historical fiction, but particularly those with an Irish ancestry.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Murder on Astor Place (A Gaslight Mystery, #1)Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this. My favorite time-period, set in New York and the main character is a midwife born to the Knickerbocker set, so she lives on the cusp of two worlds. And her compatriot in crime detecting is a Copper under the auspicious term of Teddy Roosevelt as NYC Police Commissioner.

It's fast-paced, the characters are well drawn and well written. I will look forward to reading more in the Gaslight Mysteries series.

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