Saturday 23 September 2023

The Transatlantic Book Club

Finished September 19
The Transatlantic Book Club by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

This novel is part of a series set in a small Irish town, but the only one in the series that I've read. The central characters here are Cassie Fitzgerald, a Toronto-born young woman who makes a living as a hairdresser, and has worked mostly on cruise ships so far in her career; and her Irish grandmother Pat Fitz. Before the book begins, Pat has lost her husband Ger to cancer. Cassie is on hand because she had accompanied her grandparents back to Ireland after they'd come to Canada to visit their two sons who had emigrated there. Also, before this book happens, Cassie and Pat had gone to Resolve, a town in the United States, where many people from their area of Ireland had emigrated, and where Pat had spent a summer years before, just before she got married.
Cassie is young and impulsive, but also kind and full of energy. She has arranged a part-time job as a hairstylist at a local spa/hotel, as well as one driving the library bus two days a week to villages in the area. This way, she explores the area a bit and gets to know some of the local people and begins friendships. She worries about her grandmother and how she will be on her own. 
Pat still lives above the butcher shop that her husband ran, although his holdings include the farm where they raised the meat, and other properties. She is also still close to her childhood friend Mary, whose husband Tom died a few years before. Only one of Pat's sons still lives in Ireland, Frankie, and she isn't close to him, and that relationship is explored some here. 
Mary's daughter Hanna runs the local library in Lissbeg, and it is through working at the library that Cassie gets the idea to set up a book club between Lissbeg and Resolve, connecting the people in the communities in new ways. She also has an interest in a young man in Resolve that she met while visiting with Pat, and is curious as to whether this is worth exploring. 
This book is slow-moving, and the various plots developed through the slow realization of the main characters around feelings and realizations. 

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