BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Ask Again, Yes’ by Mary Beth Keane

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, the host of the 80+ episodes of Book Stew, a 30-minute video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, featuring authors, playwrights, voice artists, and journalists.

‘Ask Again, Yes’ by Mary Beth Keane

One of those novels you just fall into immediately, this one centers around two families of NYPD officers who leave the city for the suburbs and end up as next door neighbors, with remarkable and disastrous consequences.

Irish immigrant Francis Gleeson and his wife Lena have three daughters; Britan Stanhope and his wife Anne have a son, Peter. Peter and the youngest Gleeson daughter, Kate, are bound together from childhood — spoken favorite of her father, and he, a prisoner of his mentally ill mother’s struggles and his father’s neglect.

When they are in high school, Anne precipitates a violent incident between the neighbors, and Peter is abruptly cut off from his ally Kate, his father, and his mother, but is rescued y his loving uncle George, the hero of the tale.

Later, when Peter and Kate reunite and marry, they endure struggles of their own. There’s nothing here that doesn’t or couldn’t happen on your own block, which is a great part of the novel’s appeal. It is told in straightforward fashion, primarily by Peter, Lena and Francis, and when Anne’s missing voice enters, a circle is closed.

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