Cover Image: My Heart Went Walking

My Heart Went Walking

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Member Reviews

I don't even know how to review this book! 

It was gripping, I read about 3/4 of it today alone, and I definitely recommend it as a good read. It hit a ton of tough topics... maybe too many for one story. And while I am the first to grab a book with an ending tied up with a pretty bow, this ending was a little too happy. Made it feel less realistic. Still a great book though. And clean... no open door surprises or excess swearing. 

I read this as an ARC thanks to Netgalley.
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I enjoyed reading this book. The author captures the first love, loss, family, friendship, and emotional upheavals of a 16-year-old Irish girl.  We can see her mistakes, but understand that her youth and inexperience let her make decisions from the heart. When Una tells her mother of her pregnancy, her mother reacts as most Irish mothers would have done at that time. In the years following her departure from home, we see how Una grows and that mistakes made do not define our lives.
Good insights into Irish family life. It is a bit predictable, though.
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A quiet women's fiction novel set in the 1980's, MY HEART WENT WALKING is the brilliant story of family--blood family and found family--sisterhood, young love, mistakes, faith, and motherhood. Even with multiple point of views, the writing flowed beautifully. Descriptions of the setting and the conversations between these very connected people were vivid and natural. I felt like I was right there with the characters for the whole story- Una's motivations, Cullen's reactions and feelings, and Ellie through her ordeal, will stay with me forever.

But beware, this isn't an easy read. The characters are young and inexperienced and their actions reflect that, but the story will bring you back to a time when you experienced your first love, and the joy and confusion that accompanied that. Una and Ellie's family is not perfect by any means, but what family is?

For me, as I was reading these pages, I felt that MY HEART WENT WALKING was book of the author's heart. Perhaps a story that Ms. Hanan has had in her mind for years, because the words and emotions behind them seem heartfelt and thoughtful and real. I truly enjoyed reading this lovely story, and finished it with a full heart. I look forward to Ms. Hanan's future women's fiction books, and I can't wait for the audio version of this one!
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My Heart Went Walking was set in 1980s Ireland and I could really feel that in the writing. Hanan set the story of two sisters and the ups and downs of their lives well, and I could relate to the hardships suffered through some aspects. The writing felt very authentic, and I think anyone who enjoys Irish fiction will thoroughly enjoy it. I felt some YA vibes, which I maybe wasn't expecting, but overall, a good read.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. A really enjoyable read. Great characters and so well written. Loved the character development. Highly recommended!
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My heart split into pieces with the passing of my favorite author, Maeve Binchy - but this book took me right back to her style of fantastic story telling! What a breath of fresh air this book is - I fell in love with all of the characters immediately. And I love the glossary of Irish terms - many I already knew, but I was enchanted to learn more! May Sally Hanan have a long career of writing engaging, heart-filled stories!
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Set in Ireland in the mid-80s ~ story of sisters Una and Ellie... 
Story starts when sixteen year old Una Gallagher tells her Mam that she is pregnant. Her Mam goes ballistic ~ not exactly the reaction Una expected.  She now is fearful if she tells Cullen the baby’s father he will do the right thing and marry her. So she tells him she thinks the baby is Dylan’s and her Mam is not going to let her keep the baby and wants her to give it to the nuns. She decides it is best if she leaves Donegal and goes to Dublin. Cullen, of course, is hurt and says I guess you decided and leaves. 
When she arrives in Dublin She is friended by Des and Catherine and they give her and baby Kieran a home.
In the meantime, Ellie and Cullen start to see one another. Cullen feels terribly guilty as he still cares for Una. 
Story is told from the POV of Una, Ellie, and Cullen  
This was a delightful surprise for me. I am not a big fan of character driven stories; but I loved these characters and I liked the story far more than I expected.

A mistake made when you are sixteen doesn’t necessarily define the rest of your life; a life lesson is how you deal with it. Una thought her life was over when in truth it just begun. As she states …my heart went walking but it did return home.
To me the ‘Cherry on top’ to a good read is the Author’s Acknowledgements ~ Ms. Hanan not only thanks important folks but gives us the inside scoop to her background and motivation for the story. 
In this case it is called “A Personal Letter To Readers”; which is a story in itself. 
Also liked that the book also included a Glossary that a bookmarked for easy reference

Want to thank NetGalley and Fire Drinkers Publishing for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for an honest professional review.  
Publishing Release Date scheduled for February 5, 2022
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was heartbreaking at times and was a compelling story.  Ellie was such a strong young woman and her story although tough and heartbreaking was also full of hope.  The characters were so real it was hard to put the book down.  Beautifully written and a truly beautiful story.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Fire Drinkers Publishing for the ARC! What a beautifully written story. So touching and emotional. The author did an amazing job drawing the reader (me) into the lives of Una, Ellie and Cullen. You will feel all emotions possible while reading their stories.  The characters felt so real and not one dimensional. Captivated until the very end.  I will definitely recommend this book and author to others. 
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
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My Heart Went Walking, by Sally Hanan, is a book about family and friends, at its heart. There are three main characters we follow - sisters Una and Ellie, and the boy they both love, Cullen. All three begin (the book takes place over three years) as teenagers, so their stories at first all read with the same type of tone. The characters do grow up (Una faster than the others) and it becomes more of a young adult story. While there are a number of rather serious topics in this book (especially the limited choices for women in the 1980s), the story’s narration focused a lot on emotions and thought. I found the married couple mentioned two of my favourite characters - they were so kind and loving and I enjoyed their backstory. In the end, I think the overall thing this book presents is hope - that things may not happen the way we want them to, but there is always hope, and what a blessing that actually is.  For me, this book was a solid 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. I didn't always agree with Una's choices and decisions (and lack of communication), but that was in line with her being a teenager. In some ways, Ellie had a bit more spunk or grit and her character was one I enjoyed following - even if she, too, needed to work on communication (but then don't all teenagers?).
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My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

For a debut novel by this author, Sally has produced an uncomplicated and enjoyable read. It’s storyline shows empathy for her characters and the strong family bond that exists more readily in Ireland than other places in Europe. A story of a developing understanding of oneself, love, loss and finally contentment and a return to love. All ends well …
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This book is set in Ireland in the 1980s.  The author included a glossary in the front of the book, but, as I read it on an e-reader, it was not easy to go back and forth so I did not understand some of the language.  Being from the U.S., I cannot speak to weather it captured the 80s in Ireland.  I do wonder why the author chose this era.  The characters were interesting enough to follow, but the overall story didn't really grab me.  I think it was a fine first book for the author.
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This is a bittersweet, heartwarming story set in Ireland in the 1980s. It reminds me of both Sally Rooney and Maeve Binchy. It is a tale of two teenage sisters whose paths drift tragically in different directions. The main character, Una and her boy next door love, Cullen leave too many words unspoken and this emotional immaturity has far reaching consequences. It’s a novel about family, but also about the limited choices available to young women in Ireland at that time. It’s a tearjerker, but also made me smile at times.
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Lots of tears in this book, including my own as I reached for the Kleenex quite often.  Set in beautiful Ireland, this book is very reminiscent of Maeve Binchy  ( a favorite author) who would interject a real plot surprise right in the middle of what appeared to be a most ordinary story.  

Una Gallagher, a good Irish Catholic girl, finds herself “in trouble” and makes a decision on her own how to handle her predicament, therefore, setting in motion a set of unintended consequences for herself and her family.  The kindness of strangers, and her strong family ties, teachers her that she doesn’t always have the right, or only, answer. 

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this debut novel from Sally Hanan.
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It took me a long time to finish reading My Heart Went Walking, by Sally Hanan. I had a difficult time maintaining any interest, and I kept reading other books, trying to finish this one.  I enjoy reading about Ireland, but except for some of the word choice, the setting might have been anywhere.  This was a long novel, but without any real complexity.  There was an element of melodrama and too much soap opera in the plot to keep me reading.  The writer can write well, but the plot needed tightening, or this needed to be two novels, a sort of serial kind of family saga.
I do appreciate the author, publisher, and Netgalley letting me read this novel.  My comments and opinion are my own.
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A poignant saga of loves lost and found set against a backdrop of the eighties.
The title is evocative and poignant – and not the least misleading.
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I started MY HEART WENT WALKING by Sally Hanan.  A DEBUT novel about growing up in Donegal, Ireland.  I was surprised to find the book has great Irish dialogue, witty, funny and engaging writing.  There is a glossary at the beginning of the book which would be useful to readers.  

The main characters are Una, Ellie & Callum.  Their story is told in chapters and the pain each character is going through is on every page. I enjoyed the storyline which spans over a 3 year period from 1983-1986, set in Donegal and Dublin. The descriptions in the book are funny. Example:'' I can't help but stare at his wild grey hair.  It's like the waves on the Donegal shore'' .  There is more of this in the novel.  I loved it, or maybe it's just my sense of humour'

This DEBUT novel is about teenage years, growing up in Ireland, family love and friendship. 

I give a 4 star rating and would recommend this book.

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I love stories set in Ireland. Mauve Binchy is one of my favorite authors. My Heart Went Walking captured much of the spirit I love in Ms. Binchy’s novels. The characters were my favorite part of this novel and they were so relatable. I liked that this novel wasn’t your one dimensional love story where characters are stagnant. These character grew, matured and remained authentic. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes a good life story, and everyone who likes an authentic love story. The importance of family and the problems caused by secrets and misunderstandings are familiar themes, but the author created a unique and enjoyable story.
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Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARC! 

My Heart Went Walking is a story of being able to learn from making mistakes as a teenager, and basically how these mistakes don’t define the future. The story also focuses on the bond between siblings and family. I really liked how this book contained multiple POVs, as it allows for us, the readers, to see how each of the characters are thinking as the older sister, Una, runs away from home to Dublin. 

Where this story fell short for me, however, was sort of the mundane events. There were moments where I felt as if I was supposed to feel something about certain characters, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t find myself becoming attached to any of the characters. I also think there may have been some issues with editing, as both football and soccer were used to describe the same sport, and while the setting is in Ireland, it was a bit weird to see the characters call it “soccer”. 

I still think that this story was written with an amazing concept in mind, I just think at the end it fell a little short in terms of character. However, the lessons in this book contain good wisdom for the future. 

3/5 Stars.
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The story is set in Ireland during the ‘80s, where things were changing and yet the same. It’s about family, friendships, love, loss, decisions, and acceptance. 
Una has a decision to make at a young age, and she does what she feels is the best. She runs away from home to make a new life with people who become her new family. Yet, she feels the pain of staying away from her family and loved ones. 
Then comes a situation where she has to go back, and secrets need to come out before people move ahead. How does it change Una’s life? Will she find what she’s looking for? 
My Heart Went Walking is a debut novel firmly rooted in the Irish culture. The narration is much like the dialogue or thought, with a focus on emotions and actions. 
The story spans over 2-3 years. We see how the lives of the people involved keep changing over time. The book has three POVs- Una, her sister Ellie, and their love Cullen. 
All three of them are teens, and hence the tone has a sense of similarity. However, they are different people. I loved Una’s voice throughout the book, and Ellie’s in the second half. They grow up through the story, and that makes them more real. 
Ellie is a sweet and loving sister- someone hard to hate even if you root for Una. She has more grit and compassion than one would expect from her and deserves a mention. 
I wished the other main character (unnamed to avoid spoilers) had more space, at least towards the end. That person enriched the story but was left on the sidelines. 
One reason I read books set in Ireland and Scotland is to enjoy the descriptions of the landscape. This book doesn’t have any of it. Of course, to include it would mean the author would have to change the entire narrative style (not a feasible option). The story works with this narration, and I can’t blame the author for my expectations. 
I finished the book in two days (you can finish it in one sitting if you have the time) though the second half is a bit heavier than the first. A special thanks to the author for including the pronunciations of the names on the first page of the book. 
To sum up, My Heart Went Walking is indeed a heartwarming story of finding that love has a way of changing our lives in the most unexpected ways and understanding that families will always matter. 
Thank you, NetGalley and Fire Drinkers Publishing, for the ARC.
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