Book Review: A Letter from America

And so the 12th book in my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge is…A Letter from America by Geraldine O’Neill.  The synopsis, as provided by Amazon, is as follows;

‘It is the late 60’s in Tullamore, County Offaly, and life is full of exciting possibilities for Fiona Tracey, as she prepares to leave Ireland to work for a wealthy family in New York.

Fiona’s parents have the local shop and bar, and her younger sisters are already leading independent lives. Bridget is at a convent school preparing to be a nun and Angela has led a life of her own since she was hospitalised up in Dublin for years with childhood polio.

Then, sudden tragedy forces Fiona to postpone her departure for New York. As her mother sinks into illness and depression, her responsibilities mount. When help is offered by her aunt and cousin, Fiona is mystified by her mother’s animosity towards them.

As summer approaches, an American architect, Michael O’Sullivan, takes a room above the bar. Within a short time Fiona finds herself involved in an unexpected and passionate affair.

Then, as a surprising incident threatens Bridget’s vocation, Angela uncovers information which explodes old family secrets.

Before Fiona can embark on an independent life again, perhaps in New York, she must find a new understanding of her family – and of herself.’

This is a lovely story of three very different sisters, hit by tragedy, fighting to find their way in life in 1960’s Ireland.  A Letter from America follows their hopes and dreams, sometimes shattered, but always followed as life twists and turns.

Whilst I did really enjoy this story, I found that none of the sisters stories were in enough detail.  I didn’t feel like I learnt enough about them to really engage with them.  The novel contains stories of love and loss, and despite the fact that I enjoyed reading about them, they didn’t grip me in the way that I had hoped.  Please don’t be put off by these comments though – this book really was an enjoyable read and I certainly wouldn’t want to put you off.  This was a charming book about a troubled family who just want to follow their dreams.  Make a brew, grab some cake and curl up on the sofa with the Tracey sisters!

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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