cover image SEPTEMBER SONG


Andrew M. Greeley, . . Forge, $24.95 (317pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87225-0

This fourth installment in Father Greeley's ongoing O'Malley family saga (A Midwinter's Tale; Younger Than Springtime; Christmas Wedding) focuses on the spitfire Irish Chuck O'Malley and his gorgeous wife, Rosemarie. Set against the turbulent events of the 1960s following the Kennedy assassination, the novel opens with Chuck handing in his resignation as German ambassador to President Johnson. On a first-name basis with all the major political figures of the time, Chuck strongly opposes Lyndon's position on the Vietnam War. He returns to Chicago with his wife and five children, only to be notified by Bobby (Kennedy, that is) of the historic civil rights march in Selma, Ala. With the dynamic Rosemarie by his side, he rushes to the South to march alongside Dr. Martin Luther King. The story continues summarily as the O'Malleys skip from one political hot spot to the next, making their appearances at the Chicago Democratic Convention and even in Vietnam, always with Chuck front and center and doting narrator Rosemarie singing her "little leprechaun's" praises. Sprinkled with similarly silly endearments and some chaste love-making scenes, the novel proceeds along a predictable historic course, weaving a Forrest Gump–like path through the '60s. Not quite as entertaining as Gump's tale, though charged with its own innocent brio, the O'Malley saga loses steam faster than its prolific author, who will probably churn out the next installment before the reader reaches the end of this one. (Sept.)