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. But the next four months change all of them, especially Elizabeth. Quiet and dutiful at home, she surprises herself and everyone else by falling for Danny Esposito, a restless charmer with a troublesome family.
More than 20 years later with opportunities in Ireland scarce once again, 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 20-year-old self with the woman she has become?
Firstly I must apologise to Rachael English for the delay in reviewing her debut novel Going Back which she kindly sent to me earlier this year.
Going Back takes us on a trip down memory lane with the main protagonist Elizabeth. When her daughter Janey announces she's off to New York it sparks off recollections for Elizabeth of her own fateful time in New York after college during the Summer of 1988 when she met New Yorker Danny whilst she had a longtime boyfriend Connor back home...
And when Janey falls ill and is hospitalised it seems like history is about to repeat itself when Elizabeth's path with Danny crosses after she rushes to New York to be by her daughter's bedside. Is history about to repeat itself?
Throughout the recollections we see how Elizabeth was torn between her feelings towards Connor, who everyone is expecting her to marry sooner rather than later, and Danny who was a charmer who opened her eyes to how things could be different and literally swept her off her feet. It's a time for reflection and a lot of 'what ifs' as to whether the decisions she made at that time that felt right were actually the right ones after all, what would life have been like if she'd taken a different path?
Going Back was an impressive debut from Rachael and I'll certainly be looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.