Sunday, 28 September 2014

Going Back by Rachael English

"It's never too late for a second chance.
 Ireland, 1988.  Elizabeth Kelly's parents think she belongs at home; her boyfriend is certain of it. But, unwilling to settle down just yet, she decides to spend the summer in Boston.
Quiet and dutiful at home, she surprises herself and everyone else by falling in love with Danny, a restless charmer with a troublesome family - and everything changes.
More than twenty years later with opportunities in Ireland scarce once again, a new generation looks to America, awakening memories of a golden summer for their parents. When a crisis occurs, Elizabeth returns to Boston where she is drawn back into the life she once lived. But will she be able to reconcile the dreams of her twenty-year-old self with the woman she has become?"

I was delighted to discover Rachael English, through the medium of twitter, and even more delighted when she offered to send me a copy of her debut novel, Going Back, and delighted once more when I saw that Rachael had inscribed the front of the book for me!  Thank you Rachael.

Going Back is divided into two parts; the first part is set in June 1988 when Elizabeth first steps foot in Boston, fresh off the plane from Ireland, and the second part begins in 2010, and follows Janey (Elizabeth's daughter) as she begins the same journey.  However, this book is not a comparison of the times Elizabeth experienced and the times her daughter, a generation on, experiences. 

Emigration is only the background to this book, and in Going Back we meet two people from two very different worlds who make a connection, and the question is whether that connection can stand the test of time.

I found the initial part of part one to be a little slow burning, and I often found myself wondering who this character was and what had been happening with them previously.  However, as the tangled webs continued to be weaved, I found myself more drawn in and the way the first part of the book ends left me craving more.  The second half of the book flew past and I enjoyed it, although would have liked to have gained a little more knowledge about Elizabeth in the twenty years in between the two parts. 

As a girl with Irish roots, the Irish dialogue often made me smile, and the quotes from Elizabeth's Irish parents were brilliant.

Going Back is an impressive debut novel; a story of love, regrets and second chances. 

I am looking forward to diving into Rachael's next book, Each and Every One.

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