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7 November 2014

Review: 'Going Back' by Rachael English (2014)

How do you know where you belong?

In June 1988, Elizabeth Kelly's parents think she belongs at home in Ireland. Her boyfriend is certain of it. Unwilling to settle down just yet, she decides to spend the summer in Boston with her college friends.

The next four months change all of their lives. Elizabeth surprises herself by falling for Danny Esposito, a restless charmer with a troublesome family.

Almost a quarter of a century later, Ireland is once again gripped by recession. A new generation looks to America, awakening memories of a golden summer for their parents. When a crisis occurs, Elizabeth returns to Boston where she is drawn back into the life she once lived. But will she be able to reconcile the dreams of her twenty-year-old self with the woman she has become?

When I found an unexpected review copy of author Rachael English's debut novel 'Going Back' in my mailbox, I straight away really liked the novel (it immediately made me think of romantic love stories) and the blurb definitely got me excited as well. I was looking forward to discovering a new author's work, and I was specifically excited about the Irish aspect of the book. I love reading about different cultures and the Irish culture is something that has always fascinated me. In short, I was really looking forward to getting stuck in 'Going Back' and hoped it would end up being a really enjoyable read!

Irish twenty-year-old Elizabeth Kelly spends the summer of 1988 in Boston together with some of her friends from college. While she's enjoying their fun life in America, Elizabeth has her family and long-term boyfriend Liam waiting for her in Ireland, so she knows she is going straight back home as soon as her visa expires. However, she didn't plan on meeting the charming Danny Esposito who will change her time in Boston completely. Now, 20 years later, Elizabeth's daughter Jenny is following in her mother's footsteps by going to Boston for the summer. But when something unexpected happens, Elizabeth suddenly finds herself on her way to Boston as well; a visit which brings back all of her memories from that summer of '88...

'Going Back' turned out to be exactly what I was expecting when I first laid eyes on the novel: a romantic, nostalgic and enjoyable tale with a fascinating Irish touch. The story started off quite slow-paced and it did take me a while to really get to know the characters and be taken in by the story. I warmed to Elizabeth rather easily, probably because I recognised bits of myself in her and could relate to her. She's rather shy and cautious and really struggling with her emotions and the feeling that she has to do what is expected of her instead of just following her heart. I really enjoyed seeing Elizabeth as both a teenager and a grown-up and experiencing the changes in her and how her decisions in life shaped her.

I specifically enjoyed the romantic feel of the story; the idea of finding someone you fall head over heels in love with, the struggles that come with it... This aspect of the novel was strong and convincing and these feelings made the reading experience even more of a thoroughly enjoyable and emotional ride. Rachael English's debut novel certainly did not disappoint. Her detailed and sharp writing style was enjoyable to read and I expect I will pick up more of her work in the future. Overall, 'Going Back' is an enjoyable, romantic and nostalgic women's fiction read; a captivating story about love, friendship, and following your heart. 
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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