Wednesday, July 3, 2013

City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Kate Kerrigan's latest, City of Hope.

The story picks up in 1934, Ellie has expanded beyond her country store and now owns a typing school and salon. Because the couple has never been able to have kids Ellie has thrown herself into work, and while John isn't necessarily happy about it, he is supportive and understanding of her needs. But when John suddenly dies, Ellie finds herself fleeing back to New York. Things have changed since she left and the Depression has left the city a shadow of what it once was. Here, Ellie finds a new purpose in helping those who have suffered the most. 

John freaking dies?! Agh!

Now that I've got that out, I'm all good. You'll notice that I elected to read both Ellis Island and City of Hope for review today; it actually isn't really necessary to read Ellis Island in order to jump into City at all, though I do recommend it, simply because I love Ellie and her story.

So Ellie returns to New York City, in a rush, and finds that her salvation isn't quite as she remembered it. And while she's doing well thanks to her business savvy in Ireland, many of those around her are not. She immediately looks up some old friends and finds that Mrs. Flannery has lost her husband as well and is living in not so great conditions while working full time at a laundry. The many homeless throughout the city gives Ellie an idea, however, one that she quickly recruits Mrs. Flannery for as well.

City of Hope has an all new cast of characters, which once again illustrates Kerrigan's strength in building real and believable people to fill out her story. Again, Ellie comes across as admirable and adaptable, but again throwing herself into another project to avoid facing her husband's death.

I also thought that Kerrigan did a great job capturing the spirit of the time and place: New York just after Roosevelt has come into office. The desperation and strength that those who suffered most must have felt - something that's represented best through the male characters in the book. And Ireland in the 1930s, too. The place that Ellie longed to escape so badly offered her the success she needed to be able to tackle her projects in New York City.

The end by no means wraps up Ellie's story, there's a whole new book for that! If you're in the UK, you get an earlier stab at it than we will since Land of Dreams is out now in hardcover (due out in paperback this fall - I'm jealous! I really would have jumped immediately into book three after turning the final page of City of Hope had that been an option for me!

Rating: 5/5

To see what others on the tour thought, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Kate Kerrigan and her books, visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Jen Forbus said...

I don't know how you could read this enthusiastic review and not be ready to jump into Ellie's story! Thanks for your lovely thoughts on CITY OF HOPE!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

It looks like your really invested in Ellie's story, and I can certainly see why!

Thanks for being on the tour.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I was only able to find Land of Dreams with an Ireland publication date...did you find it in the U.S. somewhere? I want to go ahead and get it as well. I downloaded Ellis Island this morning and it shouldn't take me long to work my way through it :) Enjoyed your review.