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I thought that the characters were very thinly developed. The main character, Nora, was extremely unsympathetic. The description of Abbey life was the best part of the novel for me.
Like previous comment, read due to (high rating) of Washington Post, did not like it, find it readable, wouldn't recommend. Didn't like characters or believable I thought, main character particularly grating, unrelenting references to drinking, pubs, language (of characters) made them hard and jaded. Slog to get through, almost gave up on it.
It was good but I felt like it ended abrubtly and that was mostly likely by desgin so I got over it. I would have liked to know if the secret about Patrick was ever reaveld to his sibblings. I also was interested in Bridget and Natalie and what happened with them, So I was disapointed. This is the second book by Courtney Sullivan I have read and I am about to begin a third soon she is a writer with stories that cause me to become completly engaged in her books.
I loved this book: the ending especially: being left with ambiguity re: whether or not the truth to those left behind would ever be revealed: the legacy of secrets change lives
This book was disappointing. It was recommended in a Seattle Times article, but it is really not very good. The characters are not believable or especially likeable. This is another dysfunctional family, but the characters are not very interesting. Each character is a caricature of some "type." The sister who becomes a nun is just not convincing. The author alludes to problems (e.g, pedophile priests) in the church, but her treatment is superficial. I kept reading, thinking it would get better and would tie together in the end. It did not. I am sorry I wasted my time reading this book.
The sloppy editing of this book was annoying. The medal the sisters pinned to Patrick's diaper, for example, became a pendant later in the book. The details of a fight involving Patrick and Rory McClain similarly shifted.
It was also annoying that so many story lines were endlessly repeated without ever being brought to a natural conclusion. Couldn't there have been a few words of mourning for poor Charlie? How could Nora not know what happened to the family farm after her brother's death? How could John and Patrick not notice how much Patrick resembled Rory? It isn't credible that in a hard-drinking, boisterous Irish family that nobody ever slipped and mentioned the absent Aunt Theresa. Patrick never told John about the pedophile priest?
If you enjoyed Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn, this book with its multilayered story about two Irish sisters who emigrated to Boston Massachusetts in the 1950’s will be equally appealing. Like Toibin, Sullivan can create memorable characters who shape and are shaped by their experiences. When one sister gives birth out of wedlock to a baby boy, the other sister and her husband adopt the baby. This action shapes the entire story, showing how, even in close knit families like the immigrant Irish, secrets which are meant to shelter others from pain can impact all in the family.
I was disappointed in this novel- in fact, I quit reading it after 125 pages. I didn't find any of the characters to be very likeable. I felt the story was not very original or well written.
There are a million Irish Catholic immigrant stories out there, but this one stands out. The characters are well-drawn and interesting. I especially loved the ending which stubbornly refused to answer every single unanswered question and tie the whole story up with a nice pretty bow.
although I loved this book, I'm guessing you have to grow up Irish Catholic to really enjoy it. An immigrant story about a big Irish catholic clan and the secrets they keep.