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May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,498 ratings  ·  258 reviews
An engrossing, epic American drama told from four distinct perspectives, spanning the first major wave of Irish immigration to New York through the end of the Civil War.

Four unique voices; two parallel love stories; one sweeping novel rich in the history of nineteenth-century America. This remarkable debut draws from the great themes of literature—famine, war, love, and fa
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Angela M
I've come across a number of reviews and book discussions that reflect the point of view that anything less than a tragically sad ending to a story somehow diminishes its importance in the literary arena. I don't agree. While I wouldn't say that the ending of this novel is necessarily a happy one, it is definitely a perfectly beautiful conclusion to a book filled with many moments of anguish, sadness, and injustice. The story is about the despicable treatment of slaves, the starvation of The Hu ...more
A wonderful first novel by Peter Troy.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Civil War, May The Road Rise Up To Meet You is a story of four unforgettable characters who have parallel lives, all are setting out on a journey in life and along the way intersect with each other lives.

The plot for this novel is so well written and unlike other immigrant stories I have read it is not stereotyped or over written which I really appreciated. The characters are believable and richly drawn. I especially
Jim B
This novel (currently only in audio book form) has several creative twists going for it. First of all, there are four main characters whose lives start out as different as can be, and eventually the story comes together in one narrative. Secondly, the audio book format the four main men and women (Ethan, Micah, Marcella and Mary) each have their own narrator, and some of these narrators bring their characters to life (see review of the narrators below). Then there is the format of the book. The ...more
Argh. Everybody else seems to love this but I just didn't and I can't even seem to sum up why. For starters, it took me awhile to really dig in and enjoy. In part I needed to pick up the rhythm of the various accents (which I find distracting until I really get into the swing of things) and partially because it takes quite awhile for the stories to begin to come together. So I had to accept and wrap my mind around the way each character thinks and speaks and I was a little impatient to get on wi ...more
I loved this book - the characters were each so different and so compelling. I admit that it took me a while to get used to the sounds of the Southern and Irish voices but once I got over the first few pages and could focus on what Troy's characters were saying, I carried the book with me everywhere.

On the one hand, you might expect the book to be depressingly heavy since the lead characters go through so much - from the Great Famine in Ireland to slavery in the American South to the American Ci
Diane S ❄
Four different people coming from four different backgrounds. Mary and Micah are both slaves, Ethan left Ireland after the potato famine and journeys to New York and Marcella who become a fierce abolitionist.
All face adversity in varying degrees and yet eventually all four come together. This is a wonderful historical novel, with interesting characters. Ethan had me when leaving Ireland he tried to take with him the few books he and his sister (she dies before he leaves Ireland) had, that they h
Historical fiction of the lives of four main characters before, during and after the Civil War in America. Ethan McOwen's story begins as a child in Ireland during the famine and he immigrates to America to join his "Da" and older brother, Seanny, in NYC. Marcella Arroyo is a NYC high society girl following her families immigration from Spain. Micah and Mary are slaves in Virginia. How their circumstances change and how the war affects each one brings a final intersection in their paths.

What I
Lately I've read several books that have the format of telling the story of different characters, alternating between them. Is this a trend, or have I just randomly selected such books. Peter Troy uses this format in his debut novel. Troy tells the story of four quite disparate people. First we meet Ethan McOwen, who with the help of his family escapes the Irish famine to join his father and brother in New York. Life in New York is not easy for the Irish in the nineteen century. But we learn of ...more
This book found me through my local library's list of recommendations. I am so glad I picked it up.

The story involves four characters on all the cusp of change as America is transforming itself during the Civil War.

Ethan is a recent arrival from Ireland; Marcella is a transplant from Spain; Micah is a slave that is sold to a man in Virginia separated from his family; and Mary is bought as a young girl an a slave auction when a wealthy white girl wants her for a "sister."

These characters each h
There are multiple books on Goodreads that I can't figure out why they don't have more reception. This is one of those books. Although it hasn't been released yet, I would expect to see it on more TBR lists. I enjoyed the book due to its' setting, but also the character development. These were truly characters I could sink me teeth into and get to know. One word of this book first started out I couldn't figure out where or for what purpose it was heading. Even half the way through t ...more
I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. I stumbled a bit to get through the prologue but from then on it was smooth sailing. Four people come into play, Mica, a slave sold away, Mary, a slave also sold away, Ethan, fleeing Ireland from the great hunger, Marcella brought from Spain with her family.
Each character comes with his own set of problems and feelings brought about by all they have been through. somehow Micah and Mary find each other while Ethan and Marcella also find each other.
It's hard to know where to begin. This book is so filled with characters you root for, it's like you've spent all those years with them on their journey, sharing their hopes, their dreams, their worries. On a purely technical aspect, I found that I enjoyed the informal writing style, the general lack of quotation marks that indicate talking. It somehow made it feel more...real. Even though the characters are not real, it brings to life and gives a face (faces), to part of American history that u ...more
I don't know where to begin with this book as it was truly a gem. Mr. Troy has crafted really three love stories in this novel; that of the two main couples and a third for what we all long for, home. Ethan leaves Ireland during "The Hunger" after losing his beloved sister and comes to America to live with his father and brother. Mary, a slave is first horribly treated and then uplifted but still enslaved. Marcella, a woman of means and family breaks from her family as soon as she can because sh ...more
Peter Troy manages to link the three defining man-made disasters of the 19th century: the Irish potato famine, slavery and the American Civil War into an intricate weave of powerful narrative set pieces. Ethan McOwen crosses the Atlantic to escape the famine and survives the hell of Five Points. Troy introduces a slave family with a parallel to the McOwens; the son, Micah, is sold to a new owner in Virginia, where he meets Mary, an educated house slave. Ethan eventually becomes an assistant to M ...more
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Notes: I read the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book. Some of the quotes may differ from the final version. Assume errors are mine.

Famine...Slavery...A country on the cusp of change.....
Four remarkable individuals
Two couples
One War that will change everything

"How you know whachu doin Gertie?" you ask.

"Been at dis fo' alooong time" she says, an starts hummin.

"Naw," you say, "I you know whachu stitchin when it d
Jun 09, 2012 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who enjoy slowly developing characters set against extensive historical details
May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy is a sweeping dramatic saga of loss and redemption against the backdrop of the American Civil War. The story is told by four primary characters: Mary, Ethan, Micah, Marcella. Mary and Micah are slaves in the South; Ethan and Marcella are immigrants from Ireland and Spain.

The first half of the book slowly and painstakingly describes each character's life and hardships in detail, and also sets the background leading to civil war. The second half of th
I really loved this book and especially fell in love with Ethan and Micah. What beautifully written characters! I was brought to tears by them several times. I appreciated the different voices and perspectives, and felt completely immersed in the period and the two love stories. It must be amazing to be taught history by this author, as he made it all so interesting and real. Another plus for me was that we've been to many of the locales in the book: Ireland and also DC, Fredericksburg, Richmond ...more
I like to read historical novels, and I really thought that this story would be a great one ... However, I only read about the first 50 or so pages and I was already bored ...
I don't know why, I guess I was not into all of the background and information which was starting to be presented about the main characters in the story.
Plus the book was written to try and show how the person would actually speak (black slaves and Irish in the 1800's). This in itself made it kind of hard to read through t
Kelsey Hanson
This story is told from the perspective of four different people living in The United States shortly before the beginning of the Civil War, Ethan a poor Irish immigrant, Marcella a rich Spanish immigrant, Micah a young slave with a cruel master and Mary a slave who is indulged by her rich masters. The story follows these four characters as they go through the Civil war and try to build lives for themselves in a new country. I still find this time period very fascinating because it was when the c ...more
Linda Doyle
"She's nawt shore how she's feelin' 'bout this book." That's my poor attempt to emulate Peter Troy's idiosyncratic writing style. Actually I'm feeling kind of so-so about this book. It's hard to get into and hard to get out of, but the middle isn't too bad. It's unfortunate that Troy's writing style gets in the way of what could have been a very good book. First, there's too much dialogue in dialect. I don't want to work that hard to understand what the characters are saying. Second, there is to ...more
This book was better than average, but it really wasn’t anything spectacular. Ultimately it was just two parallel love stories set in the historical context of the Civil War. Not really fabulous on any level, but page turning and interesting enough.

The four main characters all had strong voices, but were still fairly similar to each other (independent women and men who respect them). I enjoyed the brogue and the southern accent and there were definitely a few funny scenes. Given the time of year
Feb 21, 2013 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of family sagas, American history buffs
My review from 2012: I really enjoy historical fiction especially with interesting characters. This is a good one.
Now, in 2013: I couldn't give the "Tale for Three Counties" community-reads pick for 2013 away, so my review was kind of "muted." I love the book and the way it personalizes an era of American history. I also really like the positive "can-do" attitude of the characters despite their trying circumstances. The audio is a good listen, also.
A truly heartwrenching read, this novel tells the story of American resilience, hardship, and the strength we find through love.

From its very beginning, May the Road Rise Up to Meet You delves into tragedy, and as the story progresses, tragedy continues to befall the characters in the midst of small but meaningful successes. While normally a glut of misfortune becomes unbelievable and ridiculous, this was realistic, and the character's responses to it are very convincing.

I had a few problems wit
Beth Kiesel
This was a thoroughly engaging, epic saga spanning a single generation of four people whose lives parallel each other in some ways, and eventually come together in a satisfying ending. I loved the way the author literally "wove" history, literature, and drama together to create a beautiful, nearly completely believable story against the backdrop of the Irish Potato Famine, immigration, and the US Civil War. He knows his history, and he knows his literature. It's a great combination.

I read somewh
Very lengthy, slow novel. The dialect makes reading it difficult. I did like how the four stories come together at the end, although it was difficult reading until I knew how the puzzle pieces would fit together. I did not like how the writing would take on "second-person" so often, and all of the voices seemed to blend together instead of being distinct different characters.
May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy lacked several key aspects to make the novel enjoyable for me. First, the novel introduces four main characters which are all in different scenarios. Ethan is an Irish immigrant, Marcella is a wealthy Spanish women, and Mary and Micha are slaves who are split apart. You are constantly changing characters which makes it hard to keep track of character development. Also, the book lacked flow. Peter Troy does a great job giving you an authentic civil w ...more
Amanda Zirn
I absolutely loved this book! I got so attached to the characters and you learned so much from the time period. I was so sad to see it end because I loved the characters so much. I recommend this book all the time to my customers, I can't wait until it comes out in paperback!
I think this is one of those books that is so much better in audiobook format. With the possible exception of Marcella's narrator, the other three voices ROCK the voices of their respective main characters, plus the secondary characters. Marcella, I felt, needed just a touch of Spanish accent.

Troy perhaps tried just a bit to hard to wrap in too many momentous historical events/eras: subjugation of Ireland by Britain, Irish famine, the five points area of New York, Tammany hall, invention of base
It took awhile to get used to the dialects but I got to a point where I couldn't put it down. I loved how the characters all come together in the end. I really like how the author is able to portray difficult situations and events without making it graphic.
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Peter Troy is a former journalist and high school history teacher. He lives in New York State, where he is at work on his next novel.
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