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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 forgivenessFrancis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are two NYPD rookies assigned to the same Bronx precinct inThey 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 contactBut 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 FIVE UNPUTDOWNABLE STARSWell No reason to read anybooks this year This is it My favorite of 2019 While I tend to devour the psychological suspense novels, I also love a good and messy family drama novel Ask Again, Yes is a character driven family saga covering almost three generations from Ireland to contemporary New York state The story revolves around two couples living as neighbors, but not really as friends There is something a little cold about one of the wives and even though FIVE UNPUTDOWNABLE STARSWell No reason to read anybooks this year This is it My favorite of 2019 While I tend to devour the psychological suspense novels, I also love a good and messy family drama novel Ask Again, Yes is a character driven family saga covering almost three generations from Ireland to contemporary New York state The story revolves around two couples living as neighbors, but not really as friends There is something a little cold about one of the wives and even though the men work as cops together, the families never hit it off Over the years, one child from each family becomes very close with the other, and at the age of fourteen, this couple realizes they may even love each other But then, a tragic incident Their friendship and love for each other is put to the test many times in the years that follow for our young lovebirds However, this is so muchthan a run of the mill Romeo and Juliet story Mary Beth Keane is a remarkable and gifted writer She writes with empathy and concern for all her fictional characters She cares about them And, so will you She seamlessly weaves in alcoholism, mental illness, parental obligations and marriage so very carefully woven together, the problems sneak up on the reader just as they tend to do in real life Heartbreaking at times never sentimental, uplifting other times, Ask Again, Yes is one of those books you will always remember reading I am putting it up there with my all time fave The Poisonwood Bible.The audio is perfection I listened to this book constantly for two days It is an unforgettable story The thing is, Peter, grown ups don t know what they re doing any better than kids do That s the truthOh, 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 destroThe thing is, Peter, grown ups don t know what they re doing any better than kids do That s the truthOh, 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 Lying in my bed at night, after finishing this book, I found myself unwilling audience to a seethe of clashing thoughts about the story, like watching a flickering home movie projected into a makeshift screen My mind refused to release me to oblivion, and, although the ending does bring to one s mind the setting of one s soul at ease and the wheeling of stars into alignment, I turned the last page feeling heavier with what I knew I still do So, what s this book about Brian Stanhope and Fra Lying in my bed at night, after finishing this book, I found myself unwilling audience to a seethe of clashing thoughts about the story, like watching a flickering home movie projected into a makeshift screen My mind refused to release me to oblivion, and, although the ending does bring to one s mind the setting of one s soul at ease and the wheeling of stars into alignment, I turned the last page feeling heavier with what I knew I still do So, what s this book about Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson are friends, but perhaps friends is an inaccurate word to use They moved into neighboring homes in the small town of Gillam with their respective new brides, Anne and Lena, but mainly were thrown together by the fact that they were both rookie cops in a tough Bronx precinct a situation which, at the time, did not seem necessarily unpropitious Francis s youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian s only son, Peter, sought true friendship in the golden harbor of each other s arms, but tragedy found them first Violence and towering rage were like a leak that stole all the air from their homes, and soon, a final invisible mooring line snapped, and Kate and Peter were both cast adrift.Years later, Kate and Peter are still rummaging the dark, and each other, for happiness, spitting the past out behind them and throwing themselves into the future But once unearthed, there was no containing the memories, and they are soon being hunted by all the sorrows they had collected over the years their whole arsenal, turned against them Kate and Peter will soon find out that tragedies do not immunize you against further tragedies, misfortune doesn t get scattered around in fair proportions, and the past could become a stone that quickly drags you to the depths when you repeat what you do not repair The plot of Ask Again, Yes, for a while, has some trouble catching flight, but as the families tragedy is dragged to the fore, the depth of the author s storytelling prowess unveils itself There s a vicious grace and a soul baring emotional honesty to the novel, and Keane has deftly crafted a masterly wrought diorama full of realistically rendered relationships and tensions, observations about family, the ties that bind mothers and sons even through years of separation, and the ways love ferments in the airless conditions of unaddressed trauma The author invites us into the low lit corners of every household at those tremulous moments in which the whole human condition is suddenly within reach, if heartbreakingly so, and the story she tells, as strange in its specificity as it is, remains universal in its familiarity.One of the novel s most poignant successes is the way Keane challenges her readers and characters by offering a myriad of angles on the events, and infusing each with enough complexity to make them lodge themselves in the reader s mind The tragedy that has befallen the Gleeson and Stanhope families is disinterred throughout the novel, reexamined and re discussed Loose threads are picked out of every version and efforts are made to knit it all together in order to make a single, comprehensible tale Keane lets every character speak for themselves, and lets the reader decide which character should capture their allegiance She never ignores their faults, their achingly human proneness to self justification, but she also captures their longing to be kind, and despite myself, I often suffered a deep pang of sympathy for them That s what good storytelling does, I think it transforms a character from a tangential sketch into a human being, links us to them Ask Again, Yes is irreversibly sanguine but it isn t the easiest read It s a dark, disturbing book and as you read the novel, it is impossible to dislodge a sense of foreboding from your mind the feeling like seeing a shark s fin vanishing beneath the waves We do not so much wonder what might happen as worry about what will happen That haunted atmosphere permeates every page, and I could feel the dread stirring in me like ash as Kate and Peter stubbornly carry the hopelessness none of them would utter before them, hoping for the other to filch it away.But Ask Again, Yes isthan just another story about a family with little to offer but a sad history There s plenty of nuance, dimension and empathy to Keane s novel Ask Again, Yes provides a potently visceral portrait of what it s like to live with mental illness, while delicately probing the long lasting repercussions of its non treatment The layered narrative across the decades does a good job of showing how attitudes towards mental illness are changing for the better but we still have a long way to go.At the novel s heart also lurks the certainty that the things one is made to endure in childhood could not be undone and would steer their fates for many years to come, that the pain suffered in youth is bound to leave a rotten place, like a bruise on fruit, somewhere on one s soul The beginning of one s life matters the most, writes Keane, life is top heavy that way Even so, Ask Again, Yes, wades through the darkness with heart Hope makes an appearance or, if anything, the last stage before hope becomes attainable Hope that no matter how far you travel away from your loved ones, it ll come a day when you will make out each other s silhouettes again That you may have given each other wounds, but they are not always mortal Things are better now, they feel like they re getting better don t they But there might becoming This might be the least of it Have you thought about that We knew nothing about what it meant to grow up, to be partners, parents, all of it Nothing And maybe we still don t Would you have said yes back then if you d known But I know now So ask me But he couldn t find the right words I ll give you a hint, she said, squeezing his hands until he looked up to meet her eyes Then and now, I say yes Ask Again, Yes is a hugely sensitive and deeply humanizing story about the never ending ache of love and loss Not to be missed 5 Stars Edited after much thought to revise rating from 4.25 Stars to 5 Stars The ramifications of this novel and its ending have stayed with me 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 5 Stars Edited after much thought to revise rating from 4.25 Stars to 5 Stars The ramifications of this novel and its ending have stayed with me 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 sapSeriously 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 onand Twitter on 5.28.19