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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Sweethearts since childhood, Ellie Hogan and her husband, John, are content on their farm in Ireland—until John, a soldier for the Irish Republican Army, receives an injury that leaves him unable to work. Forced to take drastic measures in order to survive, Ellie does what so many Irish women in the 1920s have done and sails across a vast ocean to New York City to work as a maid for a wealthy socialite. Once there, Ellie is introduced to a world of opulence and sophistication, tempted by the allure of grand parties and fine clothes, money and mansions . . . and by the attentions of a charming suitor who can give her everything. Yet her heart remains with her husband back home. And now she faces the most difficult choice she will ever have to make: a new life in a new country full of hope and promise, or return to a life of cruel poverty . . . and love.…

Ellis Island

by Kate Kerrigan

Overall Book Review:

I fell in love with Ellis Island after finishing just the first chapter. In fact, I often had to remind myself that I was reading historical fiction and not a true account. Author Kate Kerrigan’s rich narration, as well as vibrant descriptions, brought this tale to life. Ellie proved to be a brave and realistic heroine and her love story with husband John was tender and beautiful. Readers will enjoy the quiet beauty of the Irish countryside and feel the hustle and bustle of New York City in the 1920’s. Reading Ellis Island is an adventure worth taking!

Ellis Island would make an excellent book club read as the plot easily lends itself to discussion. A Reading Group Guide is also included. 

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by HarperCollins Publishing

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 5 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 6 derogatory names; 2 anatomical terms; 2 F-Word derivatives

Violence/Gore: A secondhand account reports a man dying and another man being beaten to death. Soldiers harass several citizens and hit them with rifles; a character is shot during battle and receives a life-threatening injury.

Sex/Nudity: Characters kiss many times; a man caresses a woman’s breast; a character has to undress her incapacitated boss, giving a non-sexual depiction of nudity; a character makes jokes/references having an affair; sexual activity occurs without explicit detail between adults a few times.

Mature Subject Matter:

Death of a family member, social and socioeconomic conflict, religion, poverty, war, serious illness and injury, love, relationships.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Most characters smoke or engage in social drinking. Speakeasys are visited. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.