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  • Hope
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Hope
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2002
Mary Ryan is an unknown quantity to me,or was,until I read this amazing book.A real saga of the Irish famine and the many who fled to the promise of a new life in America.Following the story of Tom and Maria Walsh is a roller coaster of excitement and tragedy.I was half way through the book before I realised I was reading a story based on facts,with some photographs thrown in to bring the characters vividly to life.Tom`s daughter Evelyn becomes the main focus of attention as her father strikes gold and becomes the wealthiest and most feted man in America.She marries and buys the HOPE diamond and we are compelled to read on to see if this cursed stone brings her the happiness she longs for,or the disaster that wealth sometimes carries with it.A real saga that doesn`t have a dull moment and made me feel richer for having read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2004
“Hope” is a kind of biography. It’s a tale of a poor Irish family making good in the American gold rush, and what happens to them afterwards. Mary Ryan is actually one of their descendants and she has obviously put a lot of work into the research. However she has also succeeded in filling in the gaps with some interesting fiction.
I can imagine many people liking it, but I got bored. It's overlong, and the irksome martyr complex that seems to bedevil most work by Irish authors about Ireland crops up.
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on 11 December 2011
It is difficult to combine fact with fiction but the author has achieved it well. The first part of the book is the story of the rise of Thomas Walsh, from a lowly birth in an impoverished Ireland to a fabulously wealthy businessman. That journey takes us to a young America where pioneers are still joining wagon trains through Indian country to stake their claims in the West. Through sheer hard work and his own acumen, Tom strikes it rich but never forgets his roots and remains a philanthropist to the end.

The story is rather like the wagon train - slow progress, but with huge interest and changing horizons round every corner. The main conflict comes from Tom's battle to rise in life - the introduction of a few nasty characters could have driven the story with much more force. All in all a well-written facinating read to which I would have given 4 stars had the story ended with Tom.

The second half of the book centres on Tom's daughter Evalyn [sic] whose life is ruined largely by the effect of her father's wealth. There are hints about her relationship with her father who favoured his son, but this is never fully brought out. I found this "poor little rich" girl totally uninteresting as a person and skim read only to see what happened to the other people in the story.
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