#bookreview – Saints For All Occasions – by J. Courtney Sullivan

Here is another multi-generational, American dream novel about an Irish-American family, beginning with roots in rural Ireland, passing through the Irish community in Dorchester, and finally moving to the supposed bliss of suburban Hull. Awarded 3 stars on Goodreads.

saintsI’m afraid I can’t say I found this one all that original. Maybe even fostering too many stereotypes. For example, within this family’s history are the secret of an out-of-wedlock “surprise pregnancy”, the maiden aunt living the cloistered life of a nun, the pervasive impact of the Catholic faith, ownership of a neighborhood bar, and lots and lots of drinking.

At the center are two sisters, Nora and Theresa who travel to America to make a new beginning. Nora is the older, dutiful, caretaker type, quick to sacrifice for others. Theresa is younger, more attractive and pleasure-seeking. As they navigate the culture shock of adjusting to life in the US – they begin making decisions that wind up with them carving out very different lives. But no spoilers.

On the plus side the author does a credible job exploring some basic family themes like love, acceptance, guilt, and anger. And the reader witnesses the heavy costs people can pay for keeping secrets. The writing is competent, the pace somewhat uneven. But I didn’t find myself with deep emotional connections to any of the characters.

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