Ask Again, Yes
A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, and the power of forgiveness.Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are two NYPD rookies assigned to the same Bronx precinct in 1973. They aren’t close friends on the job, but end up living next door to each other outside the city. What goes on behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the stunning events to come.Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’s youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact.But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

Ask Again, Yes Details

TitleAsk Again, Yes
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 28th, 2019
PublisherScribner
ISBN-139781982106980
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Adult, Adult Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Romance, Drama, Family, Novels

Ask Again, Yes Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    “The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing any better than kids do. That’s the truth.” Oh, I love a good family drama. Ask Again, Yes is a book about the members of two families-- the Gleesons and the Stanhopes. They are first brought together through the New York City police academy when young rookies Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope work together. Later, they become neighbours and start families next to one another. Except any chance of cordiality between them is destroye “The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing any better than kids do. That’s the truth.” Oh, I love a good family drama. Ask Again, Yes is a book about the members of two families-- the Gleesons and the Stanhopes. They are first brought together through the New York City police academy when young rookies Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope work together. Later, they become neighbours and start families next to one another. Except any chance of cordiality between them is destroyed on one fateful night.This is one of those intimate character portraits that explores the interactions between the characters in depth and with an unusual level of insight into human nature. There are some perfectly-crafted scenes where as the reader I felt like, yes, that is exactly how someone would behave in that situation. While the book is busy focusing on the characters, many issues emerge over the course of the novel, integrated so seamlessly that it wasn't until I looked back at the end that I fully appreciated what Keane had done.I don't want to make the book seem sentimental, because it is not at all. But it is very empathetic, and the author writes each character with love and sensitivity. Anne's mental illness causes ruptures in her marriage with Brian, amongst other things, while the Gleesons seem determined to honor commitment no matter what troubles befall them. I love the understanding that consequences can be far-reaching, both over time and to other people. The book follows the Gleeson daughter, Kate, and the Stanhope son, Peter, over many years, and yet they can never fully escape their beginnings.You probably know by now if this is a YOU book. It's one of those for readers who like to explore the nuances of human behaviour and relationships. An obvious choice if you loved Ng's Little Fires Everywhere.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars I have always enjoyed reading family stories that take me on their journey across time. This is a story of two families over several decades and how their lives intersect in a tragic way as well as one that is filled of love and ultimately forgiveness. Two NYC police officers, living next door to each other in the suburbs, connected mainly by the friendship of their two young children. Abruptly the things going on in one of the families impact the other in a way that changes everyone’s 4.5 stars I have always enjoyed reading family stories that take me on their journey across time. This is a story of two families over several decades and how their lives intersect in a tragic way as well as one that is filled of love and ultimately forgiveness. Two NYC police officers, living next door to each other in the suburbs, connected mainly by the friendship of their two young children. Abruptly the things going on in one of the families impact the other in a way that changes everyone’s life and the two young friends are separated. In less capable hands, this book could have been melodramatic, but it wasn’t. The author addressed some tough, realistic issues - mental illness, alcoholism, parental abandonment and the effects on these characters, who I was vested in throughout, felt for throughout. This could never be a happily ever after story because the things that happened to these characters are burdens that while can be lightened by that love, loyalty and forgiveness, they can never fully be erased. An ending that was satisfying and provided realistic closure. Highly recommended.This was a monthly buddy read with Diane and Esil.I received an advanced copy of this book from Scribner through Edelweiss and NetGalley.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    "The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don't know what they're doing any better than kids do. That's the truth."You've seen this book around before. You know the one I'm talking about; it's got an aesthetically pleasing blue-green cover, boasts of domestic drama and in-depth character study of the darker side of families, while promising the reader that they will experience a grand range of emotion by the time the final page is turned. These books are one thing, pure and simple: book club bait. While I "The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don't know what they're doing any better than kids do. That's the truth."You've seen this book around before. You know the one I'm talking about; it's got an aesthetically pleasing blue-green cover, boasts of domestic drama and in-depth character study of the darker side of families, while promising the reader that they will experience a grand range of emotion by the time the final page is turned. These books are one thing, pure and simple: book club bait. While I always fall for the cover, the inside of such books rarely leaves a longterm impression on me, because it is truly difficult for a book that follows the same procedure and format as every other in its genre to attain a memorable status in my internal hard drive. Yes, this book did follow that formula, remaining fairly predictable, but for some reason these characters were quite enticing, and the author did leave an impression that kept me thinking about these characters well after finishing their story.I can't help but loosely compare this book to the likes of Liane Moriarty, because I had a similar reading experience while working through Ask Again, Yes as I did when I picked up Big Little Lies. Years ago, I joined an online bookclub with my sister and the first month we participated, we were discussing BLL. It was long, and I was intimidated, and the beginning portions were incredibly slow, so much so that I almost tossed the book and told Irina she was on her own. ;) I'm really glad she encouraged me to stick with it, because once I was fully invested in the characters, I began to breeze through and consider it one of the first books to help me embrace the lighter side of the mystery genre. AAY has a very similar setup-slow burning intro while we get acquainted with the characters, and then we steadily speed up once a few "things" begin to happen. There are many, many emotional aspects to this story, and for the most part it's very sad and mildly heavy, but the ending was done so well that it kept my final verdict as hopeful, while teaching me where to be grateful. The characters of both families suffer tremendously in various ways over the years, and some of the reasons are based on their choices, but most of the outcomes are results of unexpected circumstances, which gave a tense, straining sensation as the story unfolds. If you enjoy family sagas that feature coming-of-age in less than ideal circumstances, you may want to give this one a try for yourself. Some of the buzz-worthy topics included are mental health, addiction, cancer, and how tragedy affects all sorts of relationships, such as married couples and parents/children. Those are some tough issues to cover, but this book does so in very mild ways, with little to no graphic content, and mainly just in being referred to prior to an event or as a memory. The possible discussions that will spur from reading this book are endless, and I cannot wait to see how the general public reacts to Ask Again, Yes once it's released.*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 Stars.“Ask Again, Yes” is Literary Fiction at its best! This novel is an exploration of life, love, family, mistakes and the tragedies of everyday life. The Stanhopes and the Gleasons are at odds. Will they ever heal the rift that tore their families apart? Alcoholism, friendship, forgiveness, mental illness, love and tragedy. These are the themes of “Ask Again, Yes.”This is one heck of an engrossing novel. I truly felt for the characters of Peter and Kate. The trials and tribulations of t 4.25 Stars.“Ask Again, Yes” is Literary Fiction at its best! This novel is an exploration of life, love, family, mistakes and the tragedies of everyday life. The Stanhopes and the Gleasons are at odds. Will they ever heal the rift that tore their families apart? Alcoholism, friendship, forgiveness, mental illness, love and tragedy. These are the themes of “Ask Again, Yes.”This is one heck of an engrossing novel. I truly felt for the characters of Peter and Kate. The trials and tribulations of two families - your heart will literally be pulled in two, feeling bad for each, at certain points in time, almost feeling as if you are betraying the other. Admittedly, parts of this novel totally shocked me. I felt as though I should have understood certain things from the get go and didn’t and when things came to light I was like “oh!” Then there is the ending… yes, tears sprung to my eyes, (some of you are like, yeah “big surprise, you old sap!”). Seriously though, I simply couldn’t help myself! If you love literary fiction, fiction or are just looking for a great read, grab this and read it. You will not be disappointed. This was a buddy read with Kaceey. I loved reading this one with you Kaceey and was so glad that you ended up liking this one too! Thank you to NetGalley, Scribner and Mary Beth Keane for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 4.7.19.Will be published on Amazon and Twitter on 5.28.19.
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  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    January 1, 1970
    ***NOW AVAILABLE***This is one of those books that, as I pondered writing this review, I have changed my rating from a 4 to a 5. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly strong the characters in this book are, I finished it last week and I’m still thinking about them., all of them. If you love strong character driven books, you will love this one! I had a bit of believability issues with one of the main characters but it doesn’t take away from the entire body of work.From ***NOW AVAILABLE***This is one of those books that, as I pondered writing this review, I have changed my rating from a 4 to a 5. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly strong the characters in this book are, I finished it last week and I’m still thinking about them., all of them. If you love strong character driven books, you will love this one! I had a bit of believability issues with one of the main characters but it doesn’t take away from the entire body of work.From the blurb you know that this novel is about two neighboring families, both husbands are policemen who started out as rookies on the NYPD force. The book is told from several points of view which I think greatly improved my understanding of how the individuals felt and acted.Francis Gleeson has had a great career, he is strong willed, intelligent, diligent and yet with his family he has an incredible soft touch. He is the first to move to this new suburb, he, his wife and two daughters are doing well individually and as a family, although Lena is at times lonely and would like a larger life outside the home.Within months Brian and Anne move in next door to the Gleeson’s. Brian and Francis are not close friends at this point, but they are friendly. Anne is quite a different matter, she does not go out of her way to befriend the Gleesons and keeps to her house much of the time. Later, both Anne and Lena have children only six months apart, Peter and Kate, who are immediately bonded to each other even as little friends. Their story will play a huge part in the novel.A terrible incident occurs which changes the lives of everyone in both families, it is tragic, horrific and probably could have been avoided. The Stanhopes are forced to move away. I would not spoil this novel for anyone by giving away anything more.This is a book that I couldn’t wait to get back to and finished in two days. This story hits all the emotional buttons, happiness, extreme sadness, frustration, hope, love and forgiveness. We are taken through the lives of these families who handle the tragedy in very different ways. The plot flows very well and is extremely well thought out. We really get to know these people, this is the first book this year that has touched me in this way.Buy the book, read it, ponder what you would do in this situation and you won’t be disappointed.As an afterthought, I did read The Walking People, by this author many years ago and it was excellent, so if you enjoy this one, go back and read the other.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    The cover of this book is remarkable and behind the cover is a remarkable book. At first glance, the cover appears to be an example of a painting technique known as impasto (I think). Closer scrutiny reveals a typical suburban neighborhood that could be Anywhere, USA. And so it is with this novel. At first glance, Ask Again, Yes seems to be an American dream or coming of age novel and in some ways it is but beneath these obvious themes lie much more. A violent act leaves two families forever cha The cover of this book is remarkable and behind the cover is a remarkable book. At first glance, the cover appears to be an example of a painting technique known as impasto (I think). Closer scrutiny reveals a typical suburban neighborhood that could be Anywhere, USA. And so it is with this novel. At first glance, Ask Again, Yes seems to be an American dream or coming of age novel and in some ways it is but beneath these obvious themes lie much more. A violent act leaves two families forever changed and another event leaves them forever linked. You will live the decades of these characters’ lives right along with them. Mental illness, stoicism, alcoholism, achievement, love and forgiveness mark this marvelous novel and the author treats her characters with great tenderness. You won’t forget them.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully crafted family drama that explores love, forgiveness and the ability to move on.Do you have the strength to move past a tragedy? Come out the other side stronger? Or will the crushing weight of it all define you, re-shaping your life? Francis and Lena Gleeson are raising their 3 daughters in a quiet neighborhood. Frances is a police officer well respected by all. A rising star in his department, he has truly found his calling.Brian Stanhope lives next door with his wife Anne and th A beautifully crafted family drama that explores love, forgiveness and the ability to move on.Do you have the strength to move past a tragedy? Come out the other side stronger? Or will the crushing weight of it all define you, re-shaping your life? Francis and Lena Gleeson are raising their 3 daughters in a quiet neighborhood. Frances is a police officer well respected by all. A rising star in his department, he has truly found his calling.Brian Stanhope lives next door with his wife Anne and their son. Brian too is a police officer, and though he was once partnered with Francis, his career path has fallen well behind.When a tragedy rocks the lives of both families no one is left unscathed. Not the parents, not the children. All are left in the aftermath, trying to stitch their lives back together and move forward.This book left me at a loss for words. It touched me profoundly. Not to tears, but somewhere perhaps even deeper, causing me to look back at my own family...my life. How a singular event in your past can shape your life. Taking you down a road you may have otherwise never ventured.Even now...I find myself still reflecting upon this book.An emotional buddy read with Susanne!Thank you to NetGalley, Scribner and Mary Beth Keane for an ARC to read and review.
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  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't want to put this book down from the moment I started it...too bad I needed sleep and had other things I needed to do. Still I read it within a few short days and it hurt my heart but also, filled me with hope. Mary Beth Keane did a great job of putting her words down on paper. Kate and Peter, born to neighbors, 6 months apart, had a connection from the beginning of their time. They were best friends but more than best friends, they knew each other and loved each other before they were e I didn't want to put this book down from the moment I started it...too bad I needed sleep and had other things I needed to do. Still I read it within a few short days and it hurt my heart but also, filled me with hope. Mary Beth Keane did a great job of putting her words down on paper. Kate and Peter, born to neighbors, 6 months apart, had a connection from the beginning of their time. They were best friends but more than best friends, they knew each other and loved each other before they were even aware of that fact. Kate had a blessed life and a loving family but Peter had a harsh, troubled life, both a troubled dad and a troubled mom. Peter carried the weight of the world on his young shoulders, weight that a child should not have to carry. When Kate is 13, Peter 14, something happens that shatters their lives and the lives of their families. Peter and his family have to leave immediately and Kate is left with a hole in her heart, Peter too is left with a hole, holes that only the other can fill. Eventually Kate and Peter make contact again and all of the past is still with them and their families, past that is part of their present too. I won't say more about the book except that it was so heart-wrenching, so real, but also so full of family and love, that I finished the book wanting to continue being a part of Kate and Peter's lives. Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for this ARC.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    heads up to whom it may concern: this book is primo book club bait. in general, the best book club choices are ones with juicy conflicts at their centers which inspire strong, differing, politely expressed opinions from your assembled booknerds. and the best of these have an extra component—they allow the reader a sort of peripheral empathy; taking recognizable, relatable issues like illness, marital/job stress, disputes with the neighbors, etc, and then dramatically inflating them into situatio heads up to whom it may concern: this book is primo book club bait. in general, the best book club choices are ones with juicy conflicts at their centers which inspire strong, differing, politely expressed opinions from your assembled booknerds. and the best of these have an extra component—they allow the reader a sort of peripheral empathy; taking recognizable, relatable issues like illness, marital/job stress, disputes with the neighbors, etc, and then dramatically inflating them into situations one hopes never to have to live through, providing that “there but for the” shiver. the publisher's synopsis seems to want to keep its secrets, so i'll play along and summarize in the broadest terms: it’s about two families and one verybad night that changes the course of their lives for decades to come. and the specifics of this dramatically inflated situation, and all of its ripple effects, are sure to inspire some wide-ranging booknerd opinions. it has all of the things that breed discussion—nuanced characters with complicated relationships given years to develop and adjust, and to confront life’s myriad challenges: infidelity, addiction, mental illness, abandonment, loneliness, regret—all of the meaty woes of life. but it’s also a first love story, with a bit of a romeo and juliet edge, although in this case, the capulet’s disapproval of their kid’s romantic choice is totally legit. awkward thanksgivings for sure. it’s an engrossing and insightful story of human relationships and growth and forgiveness, but it’s not schmaltzy and sentimental like so many books of its kind. i liked it. maybe your book club will like it. but don't take my word for it—there’s actually a literary litmus test for IS THIS A BOOK CLUB BOOK?IS THIS A BOOK CLUB BOOK?does it look like this?it does! does it look like this?it does!does it look like this?it does!I THINK IT IS A BOOK CLUB BOOK!!! come to my blog!
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my... this book...these characters.I loved this story. The story starts out in the 1970’s, with two young New York police officers (partners, for awhile) who end up living next door to each other in a suburban neighborhood.As their family’s are growing, a tragedy occurs that changes all their lives, and keeps them entwined forever.Mental illness, alcoholism, estrangements, and most of all love and forgiveness are at the center of this novel that takes the reader with them to present day. This Oh my... this book...these characters.I loved this story. The story starts out in the 1970’s, with two young New York police officers (partners, for awhile) who end up living next door to each other in a suburban neighborhood.As their family’s are growing, a tragedy occurs that changes all their lives, and keeps them entwined forever.Mental illness, alcoholism, estrangements, and most of all love and forgiveness are at the center of this novel that takes the reader with them to present day. This novel touched my heart!Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this ARC!
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    For a short time they were partners, Francis and Brian, two cops from the same precinct. Then they moved their families to the same neighborhood, across the street from each other. Brian's only son and Francis's youngest daughter grow up best friends. Then something terrible happens that will divide these two family's for decades.Domestic fiction can be tricky to write, to find the right tone. This novel got it pretty neat to right. Although many dramatic occurrences happen, the tone is not over For a short time they were partners, Francis and Brian, two cops from the same precinct. Then they moved their families to the same neighborhood, across the street from each other. Brian's only son and Francis's youngest daughter grow up best friends. Then something terrible happens that will divide these two family's for decades.Domestic fiction can be tricky to write, to find the right tone. This novel got it pretty neat to right. Although many dramatic occurrences happen, the tone is not overly dramatic, in fact at times I felt it was rather cool. I prefer it that way. When I read a book that is overly dramatic in it's telling, I always compare it to a soap opera. I don't watch them and I certainly don't want to read them. The way this was told, the story itself seemed very realistic. This could happen and may have, somewhere.It deals with some important issues as well. Alcoholism and it's effect on a family, mental illness and the lack of options in the seventies. A time when what happened in a family was supposed to stay in the family. Forgiveness and regret, and what we will do for those we love. Abandonment and responsibilty, how the lingering effects sometimes takes years but unresolved issues will eventually read it ugly head.I enjoyed the changing faces of these characters, their growth as people, people who can at last acknowledge their own parts in the events that occur. Things don't happen in a vacuum as this book so adequately displays.ARC from Edelweiss.
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  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best books I have read for a Group read pick!Ask, Again, Yes is a moving, quiet beautifully written family drama that explores love, forgiveness, friendship, tragedy and trauma that takes place over four decades. We see neighbors whose lives are intertwined when tragedy strikes and a violent act tears them apart. Mary Beth Keane writes with compassion and I could feel the tenderness, generosity and grace she has given her characters. I was completely drawn into the lives of Peter and One of the best books I have read for a Group read pick!Ask, Again, Yes is a moving, quiet beautifully written family drama that explores love, forgiveness, friendship, tragedy and trauma that takes place over four decades. We see neighbors whose lives are intertwined when tragedy strikes and a violent act tears them apart. Mary Beth Keane writes with compassion and I could feel the tenderness, generosity and grace she has given her characters. I was completely drawn into the lives of Peter and Kate who are both flawed by their childhood. I was fully invested in them over the years as they piece together their lives.There are many things quietly written in the sentences here and secrets in the layers to the story. At times I felt like I was observing the story and left to find those secrets for myself instead of being shown the story and allowing me to feel what the characters are feeling. It left me so many questions as I was reading the story to pondered and so much I wanted to talk about. The ending left me with too many questions with not enough closure with the many variables left opened for me to delve deep into the story with my own thoughts. However, that is what makes this story an excellent choice for group reads to discuss the many variables to this story and I really enjoyed discussing this one with Kim and a few of our Traveling Sisters. I highly recommend. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for my complimentary copy.https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...
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  • شيماء ✨
    January 1, 1970
    me: I do not care about dramathis book: *is essentially a family drama*me: unless it involves fictional characters, I do not care about drama
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    This one was really hard to rate until I thought things through as I wrote my review. There are some very strong positives about this book, but the disappointments are…well, really disappointing. First, the positives. Ask Again,Yes is extremely well written. This author can really tell a tale in a most accomplished manner. The story involves the relationships between two families and amongst the individual members of both from the early 1970s to the present. The depth and complexity of the writi This one was really hard to rate until I thought things through as I wrote my review. There are some very strong positives about this book, but the disappointments are…well, really disappointing. First, the positives. Ask Again,Yes is extremely well written. This author can really tell a tale in a most accomplished manner. The story involves the relationships between two families and amongst the individual members of both from the early 1970s to the present. The depth and complexity of the writing is impressive. I thought for the most part these people were characterized in a deep and realistic fashion. Moreover, my interest, though it waxed and waned a bit, did not falter though the novel is fairly long.Then there are the negatives. I found the first 20% of the book to be on the slow side; it was hard to grasp where the story was going. The pace picks up after that, though I wasn’t flipping the pages like mad until the last 20%. In addition, I had a hard time really connecting with the main characters despite the fact they were likeable. Overall, I did enjoy the story, but it just did not draw out any major emotion in me, not even in the end. The ending is actually very well done, but it was like, “hey, that was good” as opposed to “oh, man, I’m going to cry now, and I just don’t want to leave these characters who I will be thinking about for the next couple of months.” I need those feelings to fully enjoy a book. Plus, there was just so much sadness in this novel. Too much for my current mood, I guess. Not really the book’s fault.Despite the negatives taking up more space than the positives in this review, in the end the latter actually outweighs the former, allowing me to rate this a solid 4 stars. This is indeed a quality work that I can recommend to all looking for a meaty read. Ms. Keane has made an impression on me, and I will definitely be interested in seeing what she comes up with next. I just hope it will have a more profound effect on me. Thank you Net Galley, Scribner, and Ms. Mary Beth Keane for gifting me an advanced review copy. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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  • sue
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really cleverly written book. A pure family saga type drama with plenty to keep you interested in.We have two families who end up living next door to each other.Each character has its flaws or talent. But something bad happens and one family move. The two eldest from each family had grown fond of each other now only to be told to stay clear from one another.I’ll be perfectly straight, I struggled at the beginning due to the style of the writing plus it was very slow moving.I eventually This is a really cleverly written book. A pure family saga type drama with plenty to keep you interested in.We have two families who end up living next door to each other.Each character has its flaws or talent. But something bad happens and one family move. The two eldest from each family had grown fond of each other now only to be told to stay clear from one another.I’ll be perfectly straight, I struggled at the beginning due to the style of the writing plus it was very slow moving.I eventually understand one of the moms and her over reaction to things.But there were several characters in this book which I tried to like. In the end I just gave up trying.I tossed between three stars and four.Let me tell you that the ending isn’t jaw dropping or amazing either, but, there was plenty in here that helped to redeem and overcome my negatives.It was the emotions, the sincerity and the way that the author led me. I somehow became trapped within its pages. I had to read it. I had to finish it. There were life lessons within these pages that made my mind tick over. Love and forgiveness and moving on is one of life’s hard lessons.We tend to reflect on the past. And by doing so we ignore where we are right now.Two families. Can they heal the rift?The mental health in this book was written well. I’ll be seeking out more from this author as she had my thoughts tossed all over the place. Now that’s making an impact!
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  • Kim ~ Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    I can't express how much I loved this book! It was a book that drew me in from the very first page. There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book and it fully deserves it. The story itself is just fascinating and unique. I have never read this author before and I absolutely loved her writing style. It flows so effortlessly that you really don't want it to come to an end.I love how the story started in 1973 with the two rookie police officers Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope meeting. I can't express how much I loved this book! It was a book that drew me in from the very first page. There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book and it fully deserves it. The story itself is just fascinating and unique. I have never read this author before and I absolutely loved her writing style. It flows so effortlessly that you really don't want it to come to an end.I love how the story started in 1973 with the two rookie police officers Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope meeting. We get a sneak peek at their personalities as they start their career off together with perhaps a different outlook at life. They end up moving right next door to each other in a quaint little suburb called Gillam, basically living the American dream. Except they are not exactly what I would call best buddies, not even friends, more like acquaintances despite working together as partners. The American dream quickly turns into everyone's worst nightmare. A tragic event rips these two families apart. I am going to refrain from saying what the "tragic event" was because it shocked me to the core and I want you to be able to experience that also. Sadly their children Peter and Kate who were thick as thieves were torn apart with no chance to even say goodbye.As the years progress I loved being allowed into both Peter and Kate's lives. We are able to see how the tragedy impacted both of their lives. It shaped how they progressed in their lives and the challenges they had to face. These two innocent souls that had nothing to do with the tragic event yearned to know what happened to each other.Wow this was such a moving and interesting story. The characters were so well developed and I found myself obsessed with how Peter and Kate were doing and how their life would progress. I was lucky enough to be able to read this as a group read with some fellow Traveling Sisters, if you get a chance pop over and check out their thoughts. This was a definite win for the group as we all seemed to enjoy this book a lot. My only drawback was I was hoping for a bit more closure at the end. I just personally thought it wrapped up a bit too perfect and easy. Whereas I feel in real life this may have been a bit more challenging to have this ending. With that said, I still loved it!I think everyone should read this book if they have the chance. It is just that good. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks so much to Scribner and Mary Beth Keane for this amazing ARC.
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  • Misty
    January 1, 1970
    Very recently a question came up in a Goodreads group of which I am a member—what is literature? Definitions were bandied about and although there was some consensus, it was still fairly ethereal and ambiguous. An online dictionary, however, offers this: Literature: written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.Ask Again, Yes is most certainly “literature”—a novel that will not only assuredly be splashed across dozens of “Best of 2019” lists, but one that will Very recently a question came up in a Goodreads group of which I am a member—what is literature? Definitions were bandied about and although there was some consensus, it was still fairly ethereal and ambiguous. An online dictionary, however, offers this: Literature: written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.Ask Again, Yes is most certainly “literature”—a novel that will not only assuredly be splashed across dozens of “Best of 2019” lists, but one that will also be read, explicated and analyzed for years to come. This is the birth of a classic.The book begins in 1973, as two rookie NYPD officers, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, are partnered. Though it is only a six week stint, their meeting sets the course for the future of not only the two men, but also their families. For the next four decades, their lives intersect and collide as they face friendships lost and found, mental illness, and alcoholism—with eventual self-awareness that can only be achieved through the survival of horrific events and crisis. Author Mary Beth Keane is on point as not only a skilled storyteller but also a brilliant wordsmith. Her prose is absolutely poetic, ebbing and flowing with phrasing and rich imagery that steals the reader’s breath. It’s not just the language, though, that makes this such a gorgeous book. Through Keane’s writing, each character is given life that lifts them off of the page and into existence. They are tragic and flawed, beautiful and real, each with hopes and dreams that transcend the obstacles with which they are faced. The reader KNOWS them and can’t help but to laugh, cry and cheer as their lives unfold. Melancholy and even sometimes morose, the familial themes explored by Keane are at once uplifting and painful. At what cost do we cling to our past? How much energy do we expend in the name of vengeance? When does forgiveness become a noble pursuit? What, exactly, constitutes a life well-lived? Ask Again, Yes is, without question, a must read for those who value family and the ties that bind; for those who expect good writing in exchange for the valuable time spent immersed in the pages; and for those who can appreciate the joy of a story well-told.Thanks to both NetGalley and Scribner for allowing me access to an ARC in exchange for my review. The book is slated for a June 2019 release.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    Rarely do I find a book that captivates me on so many levels, but Ask Again, Yes is that rare novel that hits every mark. This is such a realistic and poignant story that no review I can scribble down could do it justice. Every emotion, every word, every character and situation felt like truth as I was reading. There was nothing disingenuous in the story, and the characters are as real to me as anyone I know. This is a story of two families, each dealing with their own conflicts and stress, brou Rarely do I find a book that captivates me on so many levels, but Ask Again, Yes is that rare novel that hits every mark. This is such a realistic and poignant story that no review I can scribble down could do it justice. Every emotion, every word, every character and situation felt like truth as I was reading. There was nothing disingenuous in the story, and the characters are as real to me as anyone I know. This is a story of two families, each dealing with their own conflicts and stress, brought together through circumstance and torn apart through a dreadful event. It’s about how that event impacted and shaped each of the family members in critical ways through decades of their lives. It’s about the fine line between weakness and strength, and about love that sometimes can’t tell the difference, and sometimes just doesn’t care.When I finished this story, tears just fell. There was so much hidden deep inside the characters of the book that I could relate to, and it was dealt with so perceptively by the author that I couldn’t help but weep. I love this book. I love every character, even the ones that are hard to like.Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 5 shining stars
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    Ask Again, Yes started off a bit flat, but it crept up on me, and by the end I was fully emotionally engaged. The story started with Francis and Lena in the 1970s, and then shifted focus to Kate and Peter several years later. Francis is a cop, and he and Lena live in a small town outside of New York. You would think they would become close with their neighbours, Brian and Anne, given that Brian is also a cop, but things are complicated. Despite the distance between the parents, their kids Kate a Ask Again, Yes started off a bit flat, but it crept up on me, and by the end I was fully emotionally engaged. The story started with Francis and Lena in the 1970s, and then shifted focus to Kate and Peter several years later. Francis is a cop, and he and Lena live in a small town outside of New York. You would think they would become close with their neighbours, Brian and Anne, given that Brian is also a cop, but things are complicated. Despite the distance between the parents, their kids Kate and Peter are close, and then things get really complicated. The writing is very straightforward, and at first I was deceived into thinking that the story was a bit simplistic. But as the story progressed, I stopped worrying about the writing and became immersed in the story and characters. It's a story about imperfect people, some plagued by mental illness and addiction, who make decisions that have dramatic consequences. But it's also a story about people who hang in there, and keep things together. I cried a bit. I was satisfied with the end. You can't ask for much more. Thanks to Netgalley, Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy. Thanks also to Angela and Diane for another lovely buddy read.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars rounded up!Thank you to Scribner and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review. Ask Again, Yes was a really great piece of fiction writing. If I could compare it to another author's work I would say this is for fans of Celeste Ng or Ann Patchett. Family sagas are something that I look for because they almost always end up being my favorite stories. I think there is a lot to be said for an author who can build an entire story out of one or two families 4.5 stars rounded up!Thank you to Scribner and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review. Ask Again, Yes was a really great piece of fiction writing. If I could compare it to another author's work I would say this is for fans of Celeste Ng or Ann Patchett. Family sagas are something that I look for because they almost always end up being my favorite stories. I think there is a lot to be said for an author who can build an entire story out of one or two families and weave everything together. Mary Beth Keane wrote this absolutely beautiful story with such care and concern for the journey they all take that anyone who reads it will fall in love with each person's faults as well as their strengths in what is a journey of friendship and love. You know you are reading something amazing when you can't wait to get back to it. When I wasn't reading it, all I did was think about what was going to come next. Ask Again, Yes is that book. Besides the story, it was the WAY the author told the story. I thought switching perspectives and giving us insight into not only the main characters (Kate & Peter), but the other characters directly impacted by "the event" helped make the story stronger. It provided the opportunity to follow each character through their life and see WHY they were able to feel and act based on where you were in the book. It made the conclusion bittersweet and believable. With that said, I do have one slight concern, which is why I downgraded it slightly. (view spoiler)[Personally, the shift in story from Peter being the kid who didn't move a millimeter outside the lines to an alcoholic was hard for me to digest. Even though there was a moment of foreshadowing where Peter's family history was mentioned so as to build that bridge as well as a ton of binge drinking in his college years...it still didn't quite sit right with me. I'm not expert, I don't have any scientific or medical knowledge that backs up these thoughts, but I just had a hard time believing someone who went out of their way to ensure nothing was out of order, that he was the least possible burden on someone (and all the other personality traits he inherited because of his upbringing) would succumb to alcoholism. Peter was such a square it was just too much of a leap for me. (hide spoiler)] With that being said, I still play to buy this book when it is published (June 2019) and make it part of my permanent library. Anyone looking for their next great book club pick; this is it!
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  • Natasha Niezgoda
    January 1, 1970
    This book had me in my FEELINGS! So raw, real, touching! Relationships are MESSY!Synopsis: Peter and Kate grow up on the same street, but their parents don’t seem friendly with one another. In fact, Peter’s mom heavily dislikes Kate. But even still, Peter and Kate become best friends. Until tragedy strikes and Peter is forced to move away. But years later, they meet again and wounds are revisited and forgiveness sets in.OH, MY HEART. I feel so much for Peter. His character resonated so much with This book had me in my FEELINGS! So raw, real, touching! Relationships are MESSY!Synopsis: Peter and Kate grow up on the same street, but their parents don’t seem friendly with one another. In fact, Peter’s mom heavily dislikes Kate. But even still, Peter and Kate become best friends. Until tragedy strikes and Peter is forced to move away. But years later, they meet again and wounds are revisited and forgiveness sets in.OH, MY HEART. I feel so much for Peter. His character resonated so much with me. His gentle soul, his loyalty, his understanding, his resolution. You could tell his childhood forced him to mature and life wasn’t about hopes and dreams, but rather getting to the next day. So when Peter and Kate meet again, they carry their past into their present and future, and it makes their relationship is SO REAL. The outcome isn’t perfect but it’s authentic. And I loved that.There are big topics within the book - mental illness, cancer, alcoholism, and abandonment. Some of which I have personally dealt with. I respect that Keane didn’t dramatize anything. She focused on the feelings and the pain and the healing.There is a very genuine representation of mental health awareness throughout the book. Significant aspects of this story deal with the onsets of mental illness, its effects, how it’s acknowledged, how to cope, and how to forgive. I’m not alluding to the fact that Keane showed the best case scenario, but I think she displayed a true vantage into how heavily this weighs on a family.For those you are in the middle of this book, or about to start, and are sensitive to pacing, stick with it. There are some slower moments and some flash forwards. But the profound impact this book holds will touch your core.Thank you to Scribner Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Aga Durka
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my...this book gave me all the feelings. Such a raw, beautiful story written in exquisite style that kept me glued to its pages. I need more books like this one in my life. So real, believable, full of emotions...simply LIFE written down on paper. There was nothing forced about this story, nothing written to shock the reader, just a flow of raw emotions, story of two families touched by a tragedy which maybe could have be prevented, or not...but that is IT exactly, life cannot be predicted, a Oh my...this book gave me all the feelings. Such a raw, beautiful story written in exquisite style that kept me glued to its pages. I need more books like this one in my life. So real, believable, full of emotions...simply LIFE written down on paper. There was nothing forced about this story, nothing written to shock the reader, just a flow of raw emotions, story of two families touched by a tragedy which maybe could have be prevented, or not...but that is IT exactly, life cannot be predicted, and one decision or act can make waves and ripples in people’s lives that will change everything forever. This book is a must read for everyone, and I dare for anyone to say that this book made them feel nothing. For me this book falls into the category of “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne, it is just unbelievably captivating, heartbreaking, real, raw, sad but also so wonderful. I just loved everything about this book. And I mean EVERYTHING!!!! Thank you Netgalley, Scribner Publishing, and the author, oh so talented Mary Beth Keane for giving me an opportunity to read this beautiful story in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    For a character-based reader like me, this book is pure nirvana. It brought me to my knees. After finishing the last page, I wanted to reach out to every literary reader I know and say, “You must read this.” And that’s what I’m saying now, in my review.I’m not even going to get into the plot. Suffice to say that two NYPD cops – Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope – end up living next door to each other, raising their families in a quiet town close to NYC. Eventually, the families become linked by For a character-based reader like me, this book is pure nirvana. It brought me to my knees. After finishing the last page, I wanted to reach out to every literary reader I know and say, “You must read this.” And that’s what I’m saying now, in my review.I’m not even going to get into the plot. Suffice to say that two NYPD cops – Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope – end up living next door to each other, raising their families in a quiet town close to NYC. Eventually, the families become linked by love, struggles, and tragic life events. How this occurs is for the reader to discover.What’s more important are the themes. The book is about how one thing leads to another which leads to another and eventually, how the last fallen domino skids far from the neatly toppled row. It’s about how we cannot escape the damage done to us in our past, but instead, can confront it to build a semblance of a future. But most of all, it’s about the power of love and redemption: how we can lose our footing, lose our path, and in some cases, even lose our mind, but still be worthy of forgiveness.It’s also about what it means to be a success: not what we accumulate or what we accomplish but how many people love us and believe in us when it really matters. The genuineness of these damaged and striving characters is so real that I found that soon after starting the book, my emotions were intertwined with theirs. I don’t know who Mary Beth Keane is or where she came from, but I do know she has her finger on the pulse of the human heart. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 memorable character stars (rounded up)An epic family saga that begs the question – can you go home again?Mary Beth Keane has written a novel that brings her characters to life, the pacing is excellent, and the events that happen are realistic and heart-breaking. There are some tough issues addressed including mental health and alcoholism, and the impact on people. This was one book that I didn’t want to end.The book opens with two young men who join the New York police force, start families, 4.5 memorable character stars (rounded up)An epic family saga that begs the question – can you go home again?Mary Beth Keane has written a novel that brings her characters to life, the pacing is excellent, and the events that happen are realistic and heart-breaking. There are some tough issues addressed including mental health and alcoholism, and the impact on people. This was one book that I didn’t want to end.The book opens with two young men who join the New York police force, start families, and move to the suburbs – in fact, they end up as neighbors. Their children, Kate and Peter, become best friends, until a terrible tragedy occurs, and one family falls apart and moves away. The two families are very different – Francis and Lena have a loving marriage and provide stability for their daughters, including Kate. Things are different at Brian and Anne’s house. Anne has serious mental health concerns that were not treated and Peter ends up being negatively impacted.Kate and Peter end up reconnecting as young adults and build a life together. Peter, especially, needs to grapple with his past in order to find peace with this life and family. The book ends with a powerful sense of forgiveness and I marvel that these characters became so real to me. I recommend this one if you like character-driven family stories.Thank you to NetGalley, Mary Beth Keane, and Scribner for an ARC to read in return for an honest review.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Scribner Books books for gifting me a copyof Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. I LOVED this one! I’ve been feeling sooo burnt out on thrillers and THIS BOOK was exactly what I needed! This story is about two families who live on the same street. It’s about friendship, marriage, motherhood, addiction and mental health. It’s about life. It begins in 1974 while Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope work together as partners at a police station but aren’t very close. They do, however, end up Thanks to Scribner Books books for gifting me a copyof Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. I LOVED this one! I’ve been feeling sooo burnt out on thrillers and THIS BOOK was exactly what I needed! This story is about two families who live on the same street. It’s about friendship, marriage, motherhood, addiction and mental health. It’s about life. It begins in 1974 while Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope work together as partners at a police station but aren’t very close. They do, however, end up moving onto the same street. The Gleeson family raise three girls and the Stanhope raise one son. Kate and Peter are only six months apart and are very close friends. One night something awful happens between the two families that ends Pete and Kate’s friendship. They both part ways as the Stanhopes move away. They go to high school without each other, they go on to college as well, all while still thinking of one another. Years later, Peter ends up writing to Kate in hopes maybe they can talk. They start emailing each other and end up meeting in a bar. Can their past stay in the past or will it come back to haunt them? Can there be forgiveness from each family? I don’t want to say too much besides the fact that I loved this story and the characters so so much. I highly recommend and I’m coming at you with 5 ⭐️!
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  • Jennifer Blankfein
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this moving story of young love, family trauma and the aftermath...mental illness, addiction, forgiveness and the power of love kept me engrossed until the very last page. Full review to come on https://booknationbyjen.com.
  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Stephanie HowellAs a big-hearted, sensitive, and voracious bookworm, I rate books on the way they make me feel and the impression they will leave on my heart. Full of lovely and intimate revelations, Ask Again, Yes left me feeling exposed and crushed, in the best way possible.Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are NYPD cops, who by chance end up living next door to each other in the same New York City suburb. Despite their working relationship, their wives don’t share the same ca Why I love itby Stephanie HowellAs a big-hearted, sensitive, and voracious bookworm, I rate books on the way they make me feel and the impression they will leave on my heart. Full of lovely and intimate revelations, Ask Again, Yes left me feeling exposed and crushed, in the best way possible.Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are NYPD cops, who by chance end up living next door to each other in the same New York City suburb. Despite their working relationship, their wives don’t share the same casual rapport; especially since Brian’s wife (Anne), is a tempestuous woman who trusts no one. Still, there’s no bad blood between the families—at least not until one summer night when a shocking act of violence upends all their lives forever.After 40 years of following the Stanhopes and the Gleesons (in one luxurious afternoon of reading), these characters had taken up residence in my heart. I knew their vulnerabilities and demons as if they were members of my own family. Not just a literary novel, this book is a staggeringly raw portrayal of mental illness, addiction, and the ties that bind us. I hope you adore it as much as I did.Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/ask-again-...
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  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    January 1, 1970
    "You think a person comes out of a house like that undamaged? You don't see it now, Kate, but it's there. I promise you. Marriage is long. All the seams get tested."Where to begin with how I feel about this book? If you are looking for a story that seeps in to your soul and pulls every heart string that you have, then this is the book for you. Ask Again, Yes is the stirring portrait of the effects of mental illness and addiction on two families and an honest look at marriage and relationships. I "You think a person comes out of a house like that undamaged? You don't see it now, Kate, but it's there. I promise you. Marriage is long. All the seams get tested."Where to begin with how I feel about this book? If you are looking for a story that seeps in to your soul and pulls every heart string that you have, then this is the book for you. Ask Again, Yes is the stirring portrait of the effects of mental illness and addiction on two families and an honest look at marriage and relationships. It’s a tender take on what life can be like when your parents fail you and you are forced to grow up much too fast. I found myself rooting hard for Peter and Kate as they attempted to rewrite their family narrative and I was unprepared for how incredibly close to home the character of Anne Stanhope would hit for me.The title became more appropriate the longer I read because ... YES. YES TO ALL OF IT. Yes to the conversations that this book will start about mental illness and the complex emotions that one experiences living with a parent who can be volatile. Yes to the authentic portrayal of marriage and sacrifice. Yes to young love and the belief that you can change the world and the people in it for the better. Yes to forgiveness, hope and second chances. Yes to realistic, compelling, family drama enveloped in redemption and grace. Yes to reading a work that so beautifully depicts the daily struggles and joys that people experience as they make their way through life. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    Ask Again, Yes is an intergenerational domestic drama that focuses on two families who find their lives intertwined by one fateful event. The story follows the families for several decades allowing readers to witness the implications and far-reaching effects this one event has on members of both families.Readers will have to be patient with the book's slower start but soon they will be pulled into the lives of the Stanhope and Gleeson families. I particularly appreciated Keane's candor and sensi Ask Again, Yes is an intergenerational domestic drama that focuses on two families who find their lives intertwined by one fateful event. The story follows the families for several decades allowing readers to witness the implications and far-reaching effects this one event has on members of both families.Readers will have to be patient with the book's slower start but soon they will be pulled into the lives of the Stanhope and Gleeson families. I particularly appreciated Keane's candor and sensitivity regarding the issues of mental illness and addiction and how she illustrates the long-term influence parents' decisions have on their children.While I found the story to be somewhat predictable (and a little long in the tooth) at times, the topics that are addressed (family, loss, tragedy, addiction ..) were explored in depth making it a good choice for book club discussions. Overall, Ask Again, Yes is a well-written, poignant and insightful story that illustrates how one tragic event can change the trajectory of many lives and how the bumpy road to forgiveness and healing after such an event can reverberate through a family for decades. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Scribner Books for the complimentary advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    It’s such a pure pleasure to get completely immersed in a proper novel. This was very much a proper novel. Exceptionally well written, large, multigenerational tale of families and obstacles. No, actually, that’s way too generic. Try again. Ok, how about a Romeo and Juliet style story middle class American style about two children from wrong families who fall and stay in love irrespective of their parents’ wishes. Yes, that’s more like it. The Gleesons and Stanhopes are neighbors, but not friend It’s such a pure pleasure to get completely immersed in a proper novel. This was very much a proper novel. Exceptionally well written, large, multigenerational tale of families and obstacles. No, actually, that’s way too generic. Try again. Ok, how about a Romeo and Juliet style story middle class American style about two children from wrong families who fall and stay in love irrespective of their parents’ wishes. Yes, that’s more like it. The Gleesons and Stanhopes are neighbors, but not friends and eventually get intertwined together in a terrible tragedy that changes all of their lives. Their children, despite all that, seem fated to be together. That is, at least, until the trials and tribulations of marriage set in, things woven into one’s essential being via genetics and past traumas that come to haunt them. Because no matter what Gleesons are basically a happy family and Stanhopes are resolutely not and so the union of their children is bound to be fraught with difficulties. The story follows these families, essentially three marriages, for decades from the early 70s until the present day, alternating perspectives to give the readers a more profound understanding of the characters and their motivations. In this the novel shines, even difficult ones to like or care about, like Anne Stanhope, are all fleshed out so cleverly and humanely, it really contributes to how engaging the reading experience becomes. At first it seems like the moral of the story was forgiveness and there’s certainly a lot of that motif in here, but then I realized it’s more about love and specifically marriage. I always thought the reason divorce rates are so high is because no one takes their wows seriously. I mean, they do at the time, but after a while things come up and words get forgotten and the thing is the words are very specific, marriage isn’t a fairweather affair, it’s all seasons, rain or shine, etc. And so this seems very much a story of marriages that get tested to see if they withstand the vicissitudes of life and come through, hence the title…to be able to, if asked again, say yes, to still say yes after all the years together and all the challenges. Very romantic, really, but not at all a romance. Realistic, tragic at times, poignant drama about families you have, chose and make. Not sure if I’m doing it justice with my review, but it was a terrific book and a very enjoyable read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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