Meet Rose, youngest of six in the Moroney family. Like every other girl, she tries to look older and cooler. Spending her time with boyfriend Joe, she thinks she has a plan for the future. But everything gets complicated when Rose discovers she is pregnant. Joe want them to get married but it is 1968 ... and her parents don’t see it that way. Instead her father takes Rose from Boston all the way to Ireland, his homeland. In a home run by nuns, she gives birth and is made to put her baby girl up for adoption.
In Dublin, in 2013, Martha is unsatisfied with her life. Almost divorced, she has a lot of questions about her past but is afraid to seek the answers. But best friend Cat and daughter Evanne assure her that she doesn't have to be afraid of the truth and encourage her to search for her birth mother.
This is a beautiful story about complicated family relations full of bad choices, cruelty, secrets, shame and sorrow. With intriguing characters, it left me with a feeling of gratitude for my family. (MH)
Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Kelly spends the summer of 1988 in Boston together with some of her friends from college. While she's enjoying a fun life in America, Elizabeth has her family and long-term boyfriend Liam waiting for her in Ireland, so she will be returning home as soon as her visa expires. However, she didn't plan on meeting the charming Danny Esposito who will change her time in Boston completely. Now, 20 years later, Elizabeth's daughter Jenny is following in her mother's footsteps by going to Boston for the summer. But when something unexpected happens, Elizabeth suddenly finds herself on her way to Boston as well; a visit which brings back all of her memories from that summer of '88.
Going Back turned out to be exactly what I was expecting when I first laid eyes on the novel: a romantic, nostalgic and enjoyable tale with a fascinating Irish touch. The story started off quite slow-paced and it did take me a while to really get to know the characters and be taken in by the story. I warmed to Elizabeth rather easily, probably because I recognised bits of myself in her and could relate to her. She's rather shy and cautious and really struggling with her emotions and the feeling that she has to do what is expected of her instead of just following her heart. I really enjoyed seeing Elizabeth as both a teenager and a grown-up and experiencing the changes in her and how her decisions in life shaped her.
I specifically enjoyed the romantic feel of the story; the idea of finding someone you fall head over heels in love with, the struggles that come with it... This aspect of the novel was strong and convincing and these feelings made the reading experience even more of a thoroughly enjoyable and emotional ride. Rachael English's debut novel certainly did not disappoint. Her detailed and sharp writing style was enjoyable to read and I expect I will pick up more of her work in the future. Going Back is an enjoyable, romantic and nostalgic women's fiction read; a captivating story about love, friendship, and following your heart. (JoH)