The Parting Glass

Gina Marie Guadagnino. Atria, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9841-0
In this delectable debut, Guadagnino uses romance and thwarted desire to vividly recreate the class and ethnic conflicts of early-19th-century New York City. In the 1830s, Maire O’Farren and her brother, Seanin, flee Ireland’s poverty and political strife for a better life in America. Because of hostility to immigrants, Maire changes her name to Mary Ballard and assumes a British accent to secure a job as lady’s maid to the rich and beautiful Charlotte Walden. Seanin, now calling himself Johnny Prior, gets a position in the Walden family’s stables so he can stay close to Mary. When Seanin falls for Charlotte, Mary facilitates their trysts even though she’s also in love with Charlotte. Liddie, a black prostitute who frequents the Hibernian, an Irish bar, provides sensual comfort to soothe Mary’s heartache and the two embark on an affair. Charlotte’s commitment to Johnny is tested when her mother forces her to choose an appropriate husband. As Charlotte struggles with life-changing decisions, Mary learns the secret of the connection between her brother and what really goes on at the Hibernian. Though the ending tips into melodrama, Guadagnino’s story of the sumptuous world of the privileged and the precarious, difficult environs of the immigrant working poor is highlighted by vibrant characters and a well-paced plot, which will pull readers into the tangled tale. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/10/2019
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-1-5011-9842-7
Book - 978-1-5011-9843-4
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