cover image Christmas Wedding

Christmas Wedding

Andrew M. Greeley. Forge, $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87224-3

amiable third novel to feature the happy O'Malleys of Chicago (after A Midwinter's Tale and Younger Than Springtime) has a scant six pages devoted to the 1950 wedding itself, and not a sprig of holly in sight. The book primarily chronicles the 11 years following the holiday nuptials of Chucky O'Malley and his quasi-foster sister, Rosemarie Clancy. (When Rosemarie's mother died in an accidental fall when Rosemarie was in high school, the O'Malleys took her in.) At age 22, Chucky has already served time in the army, been kicked out of Notre Dame on false charges, and determined on a career in accounting. As the young couple's thoughts turn toward love and marriage, they must confront the demons from Rosemarie's past, including her troubling relationship with her father and the suspicious circumstances surrounding her mother's death as well as her predisposition to alcohol abuse. Greeley's habitual willingness to challenge Catholic dogma on matters such as sex and birth control, as well as his openness to ideas as far-ranging as those of Buddhism and evolutionary science, are in evidence here, and he is nothing if not politically opinionated. As a narrator, the gregarious Chucky, however, commits the sin of pride repeatedly and his self-congratulatory tone tends to grate. (Nov.)