First thing first, this book is part of a series….I did not know this, and it is book number 2. I found out there was a book that came before this one. Maybe I should have done some research, but I did not. I try not to read any previous reviews about the books I am going to review…not even the reviews written in the beginning of the book. I want to have an unbiased view of the book. Now if I had read one of the reviews, I would have learned that this is a series written by Kate Kerrigan. The first one is called Ellis Island, and it begins Ellie Hogan’s story.
The first book starts in the 1920’s and chronicles Ellie and John’s romance that begins in Ireland. Ellie emigrates, alone, for a few years to New York and lives in the city during the Jazz Age. She struggles with her options: staying in America or returning to Ireland. I did not read this book, but I believe I was caught up on the main details. I would like to go back and read it.
The second book (the one I read) is called City of Hope. It is now the 1930’s, and we find Ellie and John married and living in Ireland. The stock market has crashed in America, and things are not so bright as they once were. Fortunately, Ellie has a strong and practical business mind. She is able to have the intelligence and demeanor to run several shops in town while helping John manage their farm. Money is not an issue; however, there is a sadness for them both. They are unable to have children. This is what pushes Ellie deeper into her business ventures and the care of those around her. And then suddenly, John dies. Ellie is beside herself with grief and she packs a trunk and rushes off on the first boat to New York leaving her businesses in the hands of an employee.
Upon arrival, she discovers just how badly things are in America….especially for immigrants. She throws herself into a new endeavor of helping the homeless and abandoned in Yonkers. She is trying to hide from her grief, from her loss, from her homeland…..is she able to fulfill the emptiness within by rescuing others? This is what Ellie struggles with throughout. Will she stay in America or will she return to Ireland?
What I loved about this book were the characters. Sheila – the gold digger with a heart, Maureen- the mother who never gives up hope that her husband will return, Bridie-the cantankerous grandmother who knows best, Anna – the Italian cook who feeds them all, Matt -the strong, silent type and Ellie- the glue that holds them all together. I am looking forward to the third book since I was not expecting the ending, and am not sure if I am happy with it. Perhaps, the third book will provide the closure I am looking for…it is called Land of Dreams, and has not yet been released. I will be looking for it.