Hayes-McCoy takes readers on another trip to the Irish peninsula of her first novel, The Library at the Edge of the World (2017).
After leaving her cheating husband in London, librarian Hanna Casey has finally settled into life in her hometown of Lissbeg. She still has to deal with her cantankerous mother, but now that Hanna has fully restored her great-aunt Maggie’s cottage, at least she no longer has to live with her. But then Hanna finds something unexpected at her new home—a journal inscribed with Maggie's name. The first entry is from 1920, and as Maggie details her own journey away from the Finfarran Peninsula, Hanna realizes how much she doesn’t know about her family’s history. Meanwhile, Hanna’s daughter, Jazz, has her own struggles. After a car accident left her unable to perform her old job as a cabin crew member on an airline, she’s back home, working at a bed-and-breakfast, and dealing with a severe fear of driving that’s holding her back. She also must come to terms with the recent revelation that her beloved father cheated on her mother. The Casey women aren’t the only focus, however—there are many other quirky characters with their own struggles in the town, most notably library worker Conor's inability to communicate with his girlfriend, Aideen. The story is slow-paced, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—it’s easy to get swept into the quiet life along the peninsula. Although many of the characters are dealing with tragedy and heartbreak, they ultimately learn to move forward with the help of their eccentric but lovable neighbors.
An altogether pleasant story about overcoming the past in a charming small-town setting.