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The Girl from Donegal by Carmel Harrington : a review

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts about The Girl from Donegal by Carmel Harrington.

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book cover for The Girl from Donegal by Carmel Harrington.  A dark haired woman wearing a red jumper is sat on a sea wall facing a bay

The Girl from Donegal by Carmel Harrington

  • Category : Contemporary Fiction
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperCollins (29 Feb. 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 000852856X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0008528560
  • Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads

The Girl from Donegal Summary

Donegal, Ireland, 1939

As the world teeters on the brink of WWII, Eliza Lavery is alone in the world after her fiancé, Davey, was lost following the Irish War of Independence. But a fateful meeting on the wild beauty of Ballymastocker Bay could change everything.

Hamilton, Bermuda, 2022

Eight decades later, troubled by her future, Saoirse O’Donnell walks on the pink sands of Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay. When she uncovers a connection to Eliza, all those years before, she hears a story that promises to influence her own heart – but that also reveals a long-buried secret.

Two women must each make a choice between their past and their present in this sweeping, epic love story spanning two continents, three generations, and joy and tragedy over nearly a century.

The Girl from Donegal Review

This story surprised me.  It’s so much more than I thought it was going to be!  I’ve enjoyed Carmel Harrington’s writing before so I knew when I settled in to start reading that I was in for an emotional time.  What I didn’t figure on was that this author could take me much deeper, totally drawing me in to the character’s lives and hooking every emotion.   The Girl from Donegal is outstanding!  It blew me away.

I particularly loved the dual timeline.  I felt more connected to the past than in the present … that is until the past comes into the present!  OMG, such an emotional punch.  First not knowing what Kate’s decision would be and then when she did decide, powerful! So. Many. Tears.

Eliza’s narration from 1939 had me from the beginning.  I was so eager to get back to find out what was happening.  Gripping and poignant scenes had me in a whirl.  I couldn’t guess what choices Eliza would make but I would have been happy either way.  This woman knew her own heart and I trusted her. 

In 2022, it wasn’t until Saoirse’s visit to the Mustang Creek Ranch in Canada that she also snuck into my heart.  I was crushed under that heavy atmosphere on her return to Bermuda.  I wondered if the unexpected visitor would tip things to where I didn’t want them to go …

The Girl from Donegal is all about heart and giving freely to others without expectations.  The choices we make may seem final but opportunities can open up new paths if we’re aware of the world around us.  It’s about second chances and that it’s ok if something feels broken, it can be made whole again.

This is such a special story that I will remember for a long time to come! I loved it.

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About the Author

Carmel Harrington is an International bestseller of eleven novels translated into nine languages. A storyteller with heart & emotion, Carmel’s trademark is to write domestic dramas about the dark and light sides of life, with relatable characters and twisting plots. Her latest novel, The Girl From Donegal, became an instant Irish Times Bestseller. Previous novels include A Mother’s Heart, The Moon Over Kilmore Quay, A Thousand Roads Home, The Woman at 72 Derry Lane and the ITV-commissioned novel Cold Feet: The Lost Years, which have been Sunday Times, USA Today, Irish Times and Amazon bestsellers.

Her debut, Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, was a multi-award-winning novel, and since then, several books have been shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards, Popular Fiction Book of the Year category. She was also a regular on Irish TV screens as a panellist on shows that include Midday and Elaine and has been a guest speaker at Literary events in Ireland, UK and USA.

Carmel lives in Co. Wexford with her husband Roger, children Amelia and Nate and their rescue dog, George Bailey.

To keep in touch with Carmel, follow her on social media or visit her website.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram @HappyMrsH |www.carmelharrington.com

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