Official Review: Kitchen Dancing by Veronica Hughes

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Post Reply
User avatar
Lennycat
Posts: 191
Joined: 13 May 2017, 10:41
2018 Reading Goal: 12
2017 Reading Goal: 3
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 58
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 433
Currently Reading: finding nary
Bookshelf Size: 109
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lennycat.html
Latest Review: Saving Nary by Carol DeMent

Official Review: Kitchen Dancing by Veronica Hughes

Post by Lennycat » 06 Jun 2018, 12:59

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Kitchen Dancing" by Veronica Hughes.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Beginning in 1845, nearly 2,000,000 immigrants from Ireland came to the United States by way of Ellis Island. Hungry, poor, and sick, they glimpsed Lady Liberty from their ship as they passed her reassuring figure rising from the water in the New York City harbor. Each of these immigrants had a hope for a better life and the promise of a future for their children and their children’s children. They were ready to take on the new challenges that living in America would bring.

For seven years, The Great Hunger swept over Ireland and decimated the people’s crops of potatoes for which they were completely dependent upon. These Irish immigrants also sought to escape Britain’s political, religious, and economic stranglehold that kept them in poverty and refused them the right to own their own land, get jobs, and practice their faith, leaving no hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Kitchen Dancing by Veronica Hughes tells such a story about a post-Famine family in the 1890s from Ballynamona, County Meath. Mary Kate, Rose, and Elizabeth are sisters that play the central characters of the story. The decision has been made by their Father and Grandfather that the sisters will move to America to be with their Uncle Nate in Newark, New Jersey. But Mary Kate has other plans that involve going to school and marrying her sweetheart. She has no wish to go to America and expresses her sorrow while confiding in the family cow named Bessie.

The story goes back and forth between Mary Kate’s life as she remains in Ireland and looks forward to moving to Dublin to attend nursing school and the other two sisters, Rose and Elizabeth, as they struggle to navigate through the challenges of their new life in Newark, New Jersey. They go to live with their Uncle Nate who rents a boarding house owned by Liam McCann.

But Uncle Nate isn't all that he seems to be and jobs are scarce for the new and unwanted Irish immigrants. Will Mary Kate gain permission from her father to marry Edmund when she finishes school? Will Rose find love with the handsome steward that she dances with each night with on the ship to America?

Veronica Hughes relays a charming account of what family life was like in the 1890s, somewhat reminiscent of Louisa May Alcott’s book Little Women. She provides well-placed details that draw the reader into a world that contains hardship and poverty but that also contains love. My favorite part of the book was a character named Dr. Tevac. This character added an air of magical quality to the plot and he seemed to live in between the worlds of the humans and the faeries. He is known as the County witch doctor and it is said that he holds special powers and can cure various ailments. His presence is sprinkled throughout the book but he provides a very strong role that may bring life or death to the other characters in the book.

Technical errors scattered throughout the book were distracting and sometimes slowed down the rhythm of the book. The storyline fizzled out toward the end and I felt that some of the secondary characters needed further development. I would have liked to have been taken further into the story with the climax of the plot. What should have been one of the highest points in the book was a bit of a letdown.

That being said, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would have liked to give this book 3.5 stars if it were possible because there was a lot of poignant moments about the simple family life in turn-of-the-century Ireland that felt deserving of a 4-star rating. However, there were some technical errors scattered throughout and the storyline seemed to fizzle out at the end, leaving me wanting more. I would recommend this book to others who enjoy historical fiction and stories that contain a little bit of magic.

******
Kitchen Dancing
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Lennycat's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 1290
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 103
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and The Sorceress Stone
Currently Reading: This Nearly Was Mine: A Novel
Bookshelf Size: 422
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: The Embalmer by Vincent Zandri
Reading Device: Huawei

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 11 Jun 2018, 00:07

After I read your review I have a question about this book, does the author exaggerate the story? Thank you for your detailed review!
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are :techie-studyingbrown: - Mason Cooley

User avatar
Lennycat
Posts: 191
Joined: 13 May 2017, 10:41
2018 Reading Goal: 12
2017 Reading Goal: 3
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 58
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 433
Currently Reading: finding nary
Bookshelf Size: 109
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lennycat.html
Latest Review: Saving Nary by Carol DeMent

Post by Lennycat » 11 Jun 2018, 06:29

Hello and thank you for your question. No, the author does not exaggerate the story. It is written with great sensitivity and in a way that you get emotionally attached to the characters.

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 5589
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 69
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 208
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Violent Leadership by Wesley Middleton

Post by kandscreeley » 11 Jun 2018, 07:31

I love reading about Ireland in that time period. I can only imagine what they had to deal with. This sounds like a nice, enjoyable read. Thanks so much.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
Irene C
Posts: 302
Joined: 15 Jan 2018, 16:18
2018 Reading Goal: 13
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 246
Currently Reading: The Orphan Master
Bookshelf Size: 144
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-irene-c.html
Latest Review: Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Irene C » 11 Jun 2018, 08:48

“The storyline fizzled out towards the end” — it is disappointing when grander, more epic novels do that, isn’t it? Readers want all the plot threads tied up in most cases.

Thanks for thIs review.
Like fictional characters? Like guessing games?
Then you'll love the 20 Questions-Guess the Character game, found in the Off Topic forum! 8-)

User avatar
Ever_Reading
Posts: 235
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:01
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 42
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 72
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ever-reading.html
Latest Review: Play Sgt. Pepper One More Time by Chuck Wanager
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Ever_Reading » 11 Jun 2018, 17:07

I enjoy historical fiction and would probably enjoy this book. But, I must say, the cover is not enticing whatsoever.
Otherwise, great review.
Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.
— Charlaine Harris :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
ParadoxicalWoman
Posts: 544
Joined: 25 Oct 2017, 06:42
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 29
Currently Reading: Heartaches 3
Bookshelf Size: 272
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-paradoxicalwoman.html
Latest Review: Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner

Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 11 Jun 2018, 22:24

Historical fiction is 1 of my favourite genres. I have read about the Asians moving to America but never about the Irish to America. This book is a good start to read about them.
"Read in order to live." ~Gustave Flaubert
"Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
Nimat87
Posts: 145
Joined: 29 Mar 2018, 04:36
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 32
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nimat87.html
Latest Review: Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders by Brian E. Forschner
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Nimat87 » 12 Jun 2018, 03:58

The storyline seems interesting. I especially love the fact that it's historical fiction.
'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. '
-Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (1926).
:eusa-think: :clap: :escribir:

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”