on 29 August 2013
Kate Kerrigan is a terrific writer and I absolutely adored the first two books in this trilogy, Ellis Island followed by City of Hope. Kerrigan's beautiful development of Ellie Hogan's story and all the characters in her life made me care and feel close to everyone she created I couldn't wait to get my hands on the third and final book in the series. Unfortunately, it was a huge letdown. Nearly all but one of the characters I grew to care about from the past two books were gone, with only brief mentions of them. Ellie is unrecognizable. In Dreams, just seven years later she has transformed from an admirable, polished, warm and sensible woman to a bohemian artist and hot head full of often childish and knee-jerk behavior. Sadly, I no longer liked her. None of the new characters felt real except Freddie. I really wanted to love this book but something was missing. Ellie is in her early 40s in Dreams. Maybe she was suffering from the onset of menopause and just wasn't herself.
on 18 April 2013
I usually don't write reviews but I had to for Land of Dreams. Addictive and unputdownable, easy to read but at the same time a wise and mature conclusion to Ellie's story who has come a long way, through a lot of hardship and always is admiringly true to herself. I highly recommend it!
on 24 October 2013
LAND OF DREAMS is the third book in a trilogy set written by the great writer, Irish writer, Kate Kerrigan. ELLIS ISLAND topped the NY Times Bestseller's list this year and it is well deserved by a tremendous writer that speaks candidly about the hopes, love and loss in all of her books that I have read.
The star character in this trilogy set is Ellie Hogan. She falls in love when she is young, marries the love of her life and so the story begins...
I love Ellie. I loved this book about Ellie as a mother with her two sons and her oldest running off to Hollywood to be an actor during the 1940's (Think the golden era period.)
~This story had much heartbreak to it, but real heartbreak that felt real and real to life, so when I read a story that rings so real, so true, well, if you love a character you will go through their suffering, too. Ellie experiences great joys in her time in Los Angeles, too. But I don't want to give it away. This book is too good. You must discover on your own.
First you must read ELLIS ISLAND, then CITY OF HOPE, followed by LAND OF DREAMS.
I had a deep fascination with old Hollywood when I first moved there. I would read everything about the studios, watched all of the old movies I could get my hands on...and reading LAND OF DREAMS captured that era, captured Los Angeles. The descriptions were so real and so vivid, I was right there with Ellie reaching out to touch the sun. I was with her at the Manzanar camp, I was with her when she ran down the Hollywood Hills to catch a cab after finding out the man she had been seeing was seeing somewhere else.
I must say at the end of the book, I began to worry about the conclusion. What would happen to Ellie? Gees, I wanted something grand to happen...AND IT DID.
When you open your heart, the world flies open and great things happen.
Here is a wonderful quote in the book:
"When you love something or someone, you want to hold onto them tight and never let them go, but life doesn't work like that. You had to take the things you loved and scatter them about you like petals, throw them to the wind as if they meant nothing to you. Then God might send you something else to love; someone new to care for. Then again, He might not. Life was, with or without God, a chancy business. The only hope was to let go. Of everything."
Kate Kerrigan is in my top five favorite contemporary female authors. I don't want to compare her to anyone else because she has a style of her own that always touches me deeply in my heart.
I would love to read about Ellie again!
Here are some of her books that I have read that you need to discover:
Miracles of Grace
Perfect Recipes for a Marriage
City of Hope
Land of Dreams
on 28 August 2013
Land of Dreams is the final book in Kate Kerrigan's Ellis Island trilogy and once more Ellie Hogan's life has evolved since we first met the frightened young twenty-something that arrived in New York all those years ago.
Ellie has now forged a new career for herself as a successful artist and is currently renting a studio on Fire Island with her youngest son but things are about to change once again when she receives a call from her eldest son's school to say that he has run away.
Leo, an impressionable 15-year-old, has decided to head to Hollywood to make it as an actor after he meets someone who has told him that he can help him make it in the film business. So it's up to Ellie to follow, bringing along old friend Bridie and youngest son Tom for the ride, to try and find him to make sure that he comes to no harm. But it's Ellie herself that she soon finds herself caught up in the glitz and glamour of this lifestyle as once more she adapts to her new life and surroundings.
You probably could read Land of Dreams as a standalone book as there are a few recaps throughout but I'm definitely glad that I decided to buy and read the other two books in the trilogy first, Ellis Island and City of Hope, before reading this one as it enabled me to catch up with everything that had happened to Ellie's life up to this point.
I loved seeing how Ellie had developed as a character throughout the trilogy, from a young naive newlywed to a twice-widowed strong woman, she's certainly had more than her fair share of dramas along the way but these have all helped mould her into the confident forty-something woman that she has now become. Her relationship with Bridie was interesting too as it changed over the years from bossy housekeeper to her becoming a much loved member of this disjointed family.
I really enjoyed this series although if I'm honest I preferred the first two books a little more than I did this one, but that's not to say it isn't a great book because it is, it certainly helped wrap up Ellie's story to a satisfying conclusion.
on 13 January 2014
I absolutely loved Ellis Island but unfortunately the second and especially the third installment of this trilogy left a lot to be desired. I felt no empathy for Ellie like i had in the first book - if anything i disliked her character. She had become a hollow, spineless, pitiful version of the Ellie we knew and loved from Ellis Island. I wasnt blown away by City of Hope and had hoped that this book would go back to being more like the first but unfortunately it was a repetitive, annoying read that destroyed a very likeable character. It was also really annoying the way the authur kept repeating herself and constantly referencing previous books like we hadnt already read them. She should take a leaf from Jenny Colgan and just give a brief summary at the begining of her books to remind the reader of what has taken place in past installments and leave it at that!
on 14 November 2013
I found this to be a beautiful novel. Kate was very in keeping with her style of writing found in her previous two novels(from the Ellis Island trilogy). The golden age of Hollywood, what a wonderful time to set the novel. It was very well researched, historic elements from the past were pleasantly linked into the story. It proves that she is not just a chick lit author, but a historical fiction one also.
This novel is set several years after the times of the Great Depression seen in City of Hope, and now Ellie has two adopted sons. The eldest of the two(Leo - 15) has packed his bags and left for Hollywood and Ellie decides to follow. A story of motherly love and loss.
KERRIGAN has flawlessly encaptured the lives of those from the past, keep an eye on this author. I recommend.
on 11 November 2013
Land of Dreams - Kate Kerrigan - third and final part of Ellie's story, and I must say I really enjoyed getting back in touch with her and her world. I always look forward to a new Kate Kerrigan novel, and this one didn't disappoint. Loved the setting and all the Hollywood glitz and glamour, and how Ellie matures and grows as a person as she faces each new challenge. The familial relationships were also very interestingly drawn, and a good exploration of motherhood. Its a great read, v. enjoyable and I was sad to get to the end of Ellie's story, knowing this was the final episode in the trilogy.
on 21 October 2014
It’s 1942 and sixteen year old Leo has run away from boarding school. Actually in his mind, he’s running to his chance to become famous and not away from home. A year before, he’d gone with his friend, Julian Knox, and stayed with Julian’s family in California. While Leo was there, he had been introduced to Freddie Dubois who is a talent scout for movie studios. Freddie handed Leo his card, promising he could make him a movie star. So, Leo takes off by himself by train cross country from Fire Island, NY to Los Angeles, CA. Ellie Hogan leaves her youngest son, Tom, with close friends and heads by train after Leo.
Ellie Hogan was a celebrity in her own right as an artist (Irish impressionist). When she realizes how disappointed Leo becomes if not allowed to audition for a part, she begins to think it doesn’t matter where they live. Leo hardly ever asks for anything. She can be an artist anywhere. Her best friend, Bridie, and her son, Tom, make their way out to join Ellie and Leo in Los Angeles, CA. She had been married twice; both John and Charles are deceased by the time she moves. Leo and Tom had both been adopted. She meets a few men while in Los Angeles. However, Stan, older and mature, is someone she finds very charming; he often found ways to help her.
This is more Ellie’s story than that of Leo and Hollywood glitz. Historically accurate, it conveys the early establishment of Hollywood studios and movie agents. The tagline for this novel had read, “In 1940s Hollywood, not all that glitters is gold…” However, I felt the Hollywood glitter was a bit glossed over. There was a lot of background about Ellie’s life in Fire Island including her marriages, the adoption of her sons, her art endeavors, and even her homosexual neighbors. We do see some of the effects of WWII in Hollywood. Ellie is a very strong woman with very liberal ideas for the 1940’s time frame. Land of Dreams was actually the third in a trilogy. The first two were Ellis Island and City of Hope. The background was complete enough that I didn’t feel I missed too much from the earlier two books. I rated Land of Dreams at 3 out of 5.
on 21 January 2014
I have just finished a week of late nights digesting the final part of this trilogy - torn between wanting to savour the final part of Ellie's journey and being unable to put it down!
I couldn't imagine why or how Ellie was going to end up in Hollywood as it didn't seem like her kind of place. Sure enough as the story unravels, it is not through decisions she is making for herself but for her love, devotion and loyalty to her family and desire to help her close friends and other people who happen to cross her path that take her there.
I have really enjoyed how seeing Ellie's character develop over the whole journey and through all her loves and losses. In Ellis Island I respected the young girl who sacrificed the high life through loyalty to her husband and her roots. In City of Hope and Land of Dreams, her character develops into someone who, at times, is intensely annoying - a hot head who is capable of making wild decisions and taking crazy actions. However, this is what makes her who she is - she is always driven by her desire to help the people close to her and she never loses her integrity. She always self-reflects and learns and ultimately grows into a mature character who is full of wisdom but very human and real - i.e. far from perfect! I was very pleased with how her journey ended up.
Book 3 in the Ellis Island Trilogy is an interesting and enjoyable read. Artist Ellie’s life centres on her two adopted sons, with the book starting in 1940. When the elder Leo runs away to Hollywood, Ellie leaves the peace and tranquillity of Fire Island to follow him.
The descriptions of the long train ride from Chicago to Los Angles are fascinating, capturing a time before regular flights between large cities was the norm. It gives the reader an idea of the vast distances when travelling from east to west in America.
Ellie has little option but to support her son as he tries to make it in the movies. She restarts her life with both sons in Los Angeles. Descriptions of how the film studios worked are interesting and informative.
Several sub plots concentrate on issues that have direct influence on Ellie and her sons. The arrival of Bridie and her sugar, (you’ll need to read the book to know what that is about!) brings back memories of her past in Ireland. A friendship with Suri leads Ellie into discovering for herself the implications of being Japanese American during WW2, when many were imprisoned due to their ethnicity.
A very good read.