Monday 26 August 2019

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane @Mary_Beth_Keane BLOG TOUR @MichaelJBooks #AskAgainYes @sriya__v

A gripping and compassionate drama of two families linked by chance, love and tragedy
Gillam, upstate New York: a town of ordinary, big-lawned suburban houses. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours.
Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope - cold, elegant, unstable - wants to be left alone.
It's left to their children - Lena's youngest, Kate, and Anne's only child, Peter - to find their way to one another. To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible tragedy that will engulf them all.
A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later . . .
A story of love and redemption, faith and forgiveness, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood - villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so.

A story of how, if we're lucky, the violence lurking beneath everyday life can be vanquished by the power of love.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane was published in August by Michael Joseph Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

Ask Again, Yes is the ultimate story of family relationships, friendships and how tragedy and illness can have such far-reaching effects.

Set in a small town in the US, beginning in the 1970s and following two families over the next thirty years, this is a sweeping and ambitious story. The writing is beautiful and the setting is wonderfully done; even this woman from the depths of the English countryside felt as though she were living in the small town of Gillam at times.

For the first half of this book I was totally engaged. I absolutely adore how this talented author drew her characters, and how as a reader, I felt as though I lived amongst them. 
The two families involved; the Gleesons and the Stanhopes; whilst having much in common, are very different. They both have Irish connections, both men serve in the local police force, but the wives: Anne and Lena, couldn't be more different.
It's clear from the beginning that Anne has problems. She's recently lost a baby, whilst Lena is pregnant with her first, and that seems to be the basis for Anne's instant dislike of her neighbour. 

Anne and Lena's children; Peter and Kate don't care about the differences between their parents and form a close and loving friendship. One day that friendship ends. Dramatically and tragically, and it is this event that changes the course of both family's histories.

It was from this point on that I began to feel a little overwhelmed by quite how much this author throws at her characters. She is adept at describing the effects of mental illness and addiction on a family, but there were times when I struggled to engage with the story as it progressed.

There is no doubt that this author is a very talented writer, her prose and her characters are excellent. 
I'd certainly be interested in reading more from Mary Beth Keane

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” and in 2015 she was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. 
She currently lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons. 
She is the author of The Walking PeopleFever, and Ask Again, Yes.

Twitter : @Mary_Beth_Keane
Author Page on Facebook
Instagram : @marybethkeane

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