Author Kate Kerrigan is back with an inspiring and heartwarming follow-up to her critically acclaimed novel Ellis Island. In City of Hope, Kerrigan displays her skill for writing heartfelt stories and knowledge of the Irish-American experience in a novel that is achingly poignant and bittersweet, but ultimately a testament to the healing that can be found through friendship and love.
Kerrigan first delighted readers with the tale of Ellie Hogan’s voyage to 1920s New York and her romance with childhood sweetheart John in Ellis Island. When John, a soldier for the Irish Republican Army, becomes too injured to work, Ellie must take drastic measures in order for them to survive. Like many other young Irish women in the 1920s, she immigrates to New York City, to work as a maid for a wealthy socialite. In New York Ellie is introduced to a sophisticated lifestyle, including a charming suitor who can give her all she ever wanted. While her heart remains with her husband, Ellie is tempted by this glittering new world of fine clothes and parties, money and mansions. Soon she is faced with a monumental decision: to stay in a country full of hope and promise, or to return home to a life of poverty…and love.
City of Hope picks up about a decade after Ellie gets her happily-ever-after – which is unfortunately short-lived. When the sadness of miscarriages is compounded by the sudden death of her beloved husband, Ellie decides to leave Ireland and return to New York. She hopes the city’s vibrancy will distract her from her grief, but the Great Depression has rendered New York virtually unrecognizable. Where a joyous energy once permeated the streets of Manhattan, poverty, sadness, and desperation now rule.
Struck to her core by the profound transformation of the city, Ellie plunges headfirst into a new life, pouring her passion and energy into running a home and refuge for homeless families. In return they give her the love, support, and friendship she needs to overcome her grief. Ellie is slowly putting back the pieces of her life, 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 past from catching up with her.
Kate Kerrigan skillfully blends the historical details of what it was to be an Irish American during the Great Depression with thoughtful, heartwarming narrative—and no surprise there. Remarkably knowledgeable about the plight of Irish immigrants during the early 1900s, Kate is passionate about sharing her extensive research in talks about the Irish and Irish-American immigrant experience. In addition to her wealth of knowledge, Kate is a charming and captivating speaker, conveying all of the warmth and emotion found on the pages of her novels.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned