This month I was trying to stick to a TBR pile and I was doing really well, until the rave reviews for Ask Again, Yes started to fill up my feed and made me stray.
Lena and Francis Gleeson are settling into their new home just outside of New York. When Anne and Brian Stanhope move in next door, Lena hopes that they will become friends. Where Lena is a warm and friendly woman, Anne is cold and aloof and has no interest in becoming friends. A friendship begins to blossom between Lena’s youngest child Kate, and Anne’s only son, Peter. A relationship which Ann forbids. One devastating night the families are hit by a terrible tragedy which tears them apart. Kate and Peter lose contact with each other but they never forget. Will they be able to find a way back to each other and if they do will they, and their families, be able to make peace with the past? This really is an epic family drama, that moves along at a gentle pace, I found myself taking breaks to consider the characters and their situation. Mary Beth Keane has explored so many themes; mental health, love, betrayal, trauma, addiction and forgiveness and she handles each with great compassion. Told from various perspectives and spanning several decades, this really is a powerful and poignant novel. Normally I like books that have me flying through the pages but I really enjoyed the way this one forced me to slow down and reflect.
For me, it lived up to the hype, I loved it. I would have maybe liked to have known a little bit more about Lena, she was such an interesting woman and I really felt for her. If you like thought-provoking family dramas then I would definitely recommend Ask Again, Yes. While at times it is sad and haunting, it left me feeling hopeful. Have you have read it, what did you think?