Sally Hanan – Readers’ Favorite Award-Winning Author

CAPTIVATING · POIGNANT · FUNNY · PROFOUND

New Novel

My Heart Went Walking

Out Feb 5, 2022

For fans of Maeve Binchy and Sue Monk Kidd – An Irish author’s stunning debut set in Ireland in the ’80s that follows two sisters, each with her own heartache, and the man they both love.

More About Sally Hanan

Sally was raised in Ireland, lived in Spain for a year, and now lives in Texas. Her work history includes a nursing degree, secret shopping, Uber driving, and copy editing. She’s been writing all her life, with a number of self-published books out in the world. She’s written five novels, four of which will never see the light of day, and rightly so.

An absolute gem of a novel, taking readers on a compelling, entertaining, sometimes heart-breaking, but ultimately uplifting journey.

My Heart Went Walking

IndieReader Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Set in Donegal and Dublin Ireland in the 1980s, MY HEART WENT WALKING follows pregnant, sixteen-year-old Una Gallaher as she makes decisions she believes to be right, but what of Cullen Breslin, the father of her unborn baby and Ellie, the close sister she leaves behind?

MY HEART WENT WALKING begins as a gritty, family drama set among the working-class environs of Donegal and evolves into a richly textured fiction. The story unfolds over three years and is told from three perspectives; Una’s, Cullen’s and Ellie’s. The story’s opening plunges the reader directly into Una’s predicament set against the backdrop of domestic routine on a September evening which lends the crisis a suitably realistic yet surreal energy. Una is aware of the gravity of her situation but author Sally Hanan gives her voice a layer of endearing naivety, placing focus on her age and eliciting sympathy from the reader. The rising sense of hopelessness Una feels is reflected in her slightly disjointed stream of thought which liberally scatters backstory among the panic to the benefit of the reader. It’s a gripping, tangled beginning heavy with both foreboding and promise.

The differing points of view switch effortlessly and cleverly build rounded pictures of the three characters as the reader is privy not only to the others’ outlook but also their innermost thoughts and impressions. Their voices mature credibly as circumstances dictate and there is a distinct sense of personality in each. The shift of main focus to Ellie around halfway through was inspired. She begins the book as a rather unambitious, simple character, content in her surroundings. However, as the story progresses, her gentle, unassuming voice develops; balancing Una’s frustratingly stubborn single-mindedness and grounding the storms that swirl around the three of them with a steady insight sprinkled with stoic humor and acceptance. The relationship between her and Cullen is beautifully poignant with an affecting innocence that contrasts sharply with the uncomfortable dynamic between him and Una.

The supporting characters are viewed more by their actions and this keeps them deliberately in the background, giving more consequence to the three protagonists. They are, however, neatly depicted. Catherine and Robbie are written with special sensitivity, the exception being Una and Ellie’s Mother, who remains an understandably remote, contradictory figure. The prose throughout is buoyant, flowing with purpose yet nicely slowed in places with some lovely descriptive imagery. Setting the story in the 1980s provided the perfect backdrop and also gives some light-hearted nostalgic amusement. There are lots of authentic period details but they cleverly complement and never overshadow the narrative.

Just when the reader thinks there is an edge of inevitability to the narrative, it twists in a different direction making the chapters vibrate with tension and the weight of unspoken emotion. There are a number of routes the conclusion could have taken. Ms. Hanan chooses the safest and the one designed for maximum reader satisfaction although a few lingering curiosities remain.

IndieReader

A thoroughly enjoyable, immersive read. Highly recommended.

Leonie Kelsall, Best-Selling Author

A beautiful book about love and finding yourself and where you fit in life.

Laua Peterson, Once Upon a Book Club

What a privilege to be given the chance to read this book. It was beautifully written.

Caroline Starkey, Bookseller

A wonderful book about growing up in adverse circumstances.

Kathrin Brummer, Librarian

The storytelling is superb, and the writing is superior.

Patricia Doyle, Goodreads Reviewer

I devoured this one in one day and it was lovely.

Julia Burk, Goodreads Reviewer

So well written and real.

 This book is very reminiscent of Maeve Binchy (a favorite author).

Jean Patrick, Goodreads Reviewer

Captured much of the spirit I love in Ms. Binchy’s novels.

Cathy O'Callaghan, Goodreads Reviewer

This book took me right back to Maeve Binchy’s style of fantastic story telling!

Beth Bertino, Goodreads Reviewer

It was hard to put the book down. Beautifully written and a truly beautiful story.

Carol Clasper, Goodreads Reviewer

What Sally Writes

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ALL HER BOOKS

Nonfiction

Christian self-help workbooks

Flash Fiction

Never more than 750 words

General Fiction

Novels with hope

Picture Books

Coming soon

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