It was the title of the book that initially caught my attention. Ellis Island and the stories of the immigrants that came through it's doors hoping for a better life has always intrigued me. Each one of the millions of immigrants has his or her own story and author Kate Kerrigan tells the tale of just one Irish girl and her motivation for leaving her home country to come to the United States of America.
Ellis Island a novel by Kate Kerrigan is the story of Ellie Hogan, a smart and determined young woman who sets of to America after her beloved husband is injured as a soldier in the Irish Republican Army. Since John is unable to walk and in need of an expensive surgery, Ellie emigrates to America to work as a maid for a rich socialite. She sends nearly every penny home to her family in Ireland.
Devoted to her family, Ellie also becomes enamored with her new life and comforts in New York City. She further educates herself, finds a new job and is on the verge of living the American Dream. To complicate matters, a wealthy young man falls for Ellie and offers her every luxury she could ever imagine. Where does Ellie belong? In her new comfortable life in America or in Ireland with the ones she loves?
Ellie is a likable yet very real character. She is smart and not easily swindled. She stands up for herself yet walks the line of propriety standard for the period. She has personal integrity and yet she is also human and vulnerable to temptation. Kate Kerrigan has created a very empathetic and believable character. I found myself moved by Ellie's plight and rooting for her throughout the novel.
The plot is well paced and structured. Kerrigan's descriptions of the both rural Ireland and New York City in the 1920's paint a detailed picture of the period. She equally well describes the poverty and the glamour while staying true to Ellie's character and the story.
Well written, Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan is one to add to your to-read list if you enjoy period dramas and character-driven novels.
I requested and received a copy of Ellis Island from the publishers in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation has been received.