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Friday, October 24, 2014

Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan

Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks ISBN 978-0-06-234052-8
Trade paperback, $14.99

Readers first met Ellie Hogan in Kate Kerrigan's novel Ellis Island. We followed Ellie as she married the love of her life John, came to America to make money for an operation John needed, and was emotionally torn as she built a life in New York while missing her husband back home.

The second book in the trilogy, City of Hope, covered Ellie's life back home in Ireland with her husband. It was a difficult adjustment, moving back to a farm in rural Ireland after living in an exciting, vibrant city. After John's death, a grieving Ellie comes back to New York and opens a home for people who lost their homes during the Depression, eventually building an entire community.

The third book in the trilogy, set in 1942, is Land of Dreams, which finds a middle-aged Ellie living on Fire Island working on her art. Ellie is a painter, and she has a bit of a following. She has two sons, Leo, the sixteen-year-old son of her second husband Charles, and seven-year-old Tommy, who was left as a baby by his mother in Ellie's care.

When Leo runs away from his boarding school, Ellie tracks him down in Hollywood, where he hopes to find a career as an actor in the movies. She intends to take him back home, but after finding him, she decides to give him a chance at the screen test his young agent Freddie has set up for him.

Leo gets a small role in a war movie, and Ellie doesn't have the heart to make Leo give up his dream. As an artist, she understands Leo's desire to express himself. She brings Tommy and Bridie, the elderly woman whom she first met when they both worked as household staff years ago in New York, to Hollywood.

The family sets up in Hollywood where they seem to enjoy the sunshine lifestyle. This is a different Ellie than we have seen before. In the first two books, she was working and struggling to build a life for herself and her community. Now Ellie is middle-aged, and responsible for her two sons.

Ellie had miscarriages during her marriage to John, which brought her great sadness. She never thought she would have children, and now her life revolves around her children. Many women who have children will understand Ellie's feelings about her children growing older and needing her less.

This Ellie is more contemplative, more reflective about her life. She doesn't have to work so hard, she has more time to think. She met an older man, a music composer, on the train to Hollywood, and they continued their relationship in Hollywood.

Kerrigan's characters are so multi-dimensional, even the minor ones. Stan, the composer, loves Ellie, but he is not willing to pine for her if she will give him no chance. Freddie, the agent, is not some sleazy Hollywood type, but a young man with a goal and he becomes a part of Ellie's family. Even Freddie's actress-girlfriend, who could be a golddigger, is interesting.

Many times in trilogies, the main character remains stagnant from book to book. In Kate Kerrigan's Ellis Island series, we experience the growth and depth of Ellie from young girl desperately in love with  her husband and willing to move to America to save his life, to grieving young widow who channels her grief by building a community for those in need to middle-aged mother who loves her children enough to give them their dreams and in turn find her own.

rating 4 of 5
My review of Ellis Island is here.
My review of City of Hope is here.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Kate Kerrigan's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Kate’s Tour Stops

Thursday, October 9th: Drey’s Library
Friday, October 10th: A Book Geek
Tuesday, October 14th: Kritters Ramblings
Friday, October 17th: Diary of an Eccentric
Monday, October 20th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, October 21st: FictionZeal
Wednesday, October 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, October 23rd: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, October 24th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, October 29th: The Gilmore Guide to Books
Thursday, October 30th: The Reader’s Hollow


  1. I love immigrant stories so have had this whole series on my radar for a while. I have a feeling I'd love it.

  2. Wow Ellie certainly makes great changes as a character throughout this series! I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.