Friday, June 28, 2013

City of Hope: A Novel by Kate Kerrigan

City of Hope: A NovelCity of Hope: A Novel by Kate Kerrigan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description: An uplifting, inspiring and heartwarming story of a woman truly ahead of her time, City of Hope is the heart-rending but inspiring follow-up to Ellis Island

It is the 1930s and when her beloved husband, John, suddenly dies, young Ellie Hogan decides to leave Ireland and return to New York. She hopes that the city's vibrancy will distract her from her grief. But the Depression has rendered the city unrecognizable-gone is the energy and atmosphere of fun that Ellie fell in love with ten years before.

Plunging headfirst into a new life, Ellie pours all her passion and energy into running a home and refuge for the homeless. In return they give her the kind of love, support and friendship she needs to try and overcome her grief. Until, one day, someone she thought she'd never see again steps through her door. It seems that even the Atlantic isn't big enough to prevent the tragedies of the past from catching up with her.

My thoughts: I absolutely love Kerrigan's writing style and insights. The protagonist is a woman ahead of her time in that she is independent and career driven when she is unable to bear children. On the other hand, she is a little cold and prickly in the beginning and does not deviate from her somewhat self centeredness throughout, although her actions are selfless.

The author has a way of articulating a woman's inner most thoughts and feelings that is spot on. Ellie may not be altruistic but her thoughts and feelings are honest and, in some way, most woman can identify with them.

Ellie is the narrator. She tells the story. She tells it the way she experiences and uses little convention of mystery and slowly revealing. She is straight forward and right. She rarely questions her rightness. Although the style is nit conventional, I enjoyed it immensely. The story is told without question and with insights I found piercing to the core.

The book gives a clear picture of New York after the stock market crash, an era and setting largely ignored. The depression in a big city without social policies was big and overwhelming. in Ellie's attempt to escape her grief and possible culpability, she suddenly leaves Ireland to live the big life in New York as she remembered it years before when she was more shallow. Once in New York, she finds her grief has followed her so she finds a mission to keep herself busy. I so enjoyed the book. I really wanted a happy ending. Therein lies my one complaint. The nonending. There is more to the story and another book. I definitely will read it. I must find out what happens to Ellie and the other characters. I want to know if Ellie evolves to match her actions. I love Ellie. I want a happy ending.

3.75 stars

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