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Sheila McGann is estranged from her complicated family. But when her older brother Art, pastor of a large suburban parish, finds himself at the center of a scandal, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him. Her strict mother lives in a state of angry denial; her younger brother Mike has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.… (altro)
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Lovingly rendered tale of Irish Catholic Boston and the scandals that enveloped that community, told from the point of a view of a sister whose priest brother has been accused. Anyone who has lived in Boston will recognize every street corner here. I’ve enjoyed all of her novels and hope she is working on the next one. ( )
  AnaraGuard | Nov 1, 2020 |
What a timely read. Set in the early 2000s when the Boston church abuse scandal was widely exposed, this story is sadly still relevant today. Though it is fiction, it captures some of the historical situation but especially the emotional side of the issue. Sheila McGann is the narrator, telling the story of her brother Fr. Arthur Breen who has been (falsely) accused of molesting his housekeeper's grandson, Aidan. His true sin is wanting to be part of a family, and falling for Aidan's troubled addict mother Kath Conlan, though she turns this to her addled advantage in search of a settlement. Sheila pieces the story together from a few different sources and the Irish Boston neighborhoods become very small as players overlap and intersect, including another brother Mike McGann and the same Kath Conlan. Trouble and troubled. Sheila is interested in proving Arthur's innocence, though it is a moot point by the end of the story. Mostly all angles need to be heard and the author does a really good job of portraying the danger in the church coverup and the victims on both sides who lose out when there is no due process. The biggest victim here is faith. All of it shakes the bedrock. She explains: "Faith is a decision. In its most basic form, it is a choice." Choosing whom and what to believe in is the challenge. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
So I loved this book. I have read all of Haigh's novels--I've been following her since her debut (Mrs. Kimble)--but with this book she has really realized her promise. It's smartly and elegantly written. I admired the characterization in the novel, particularly in the narrator. I have quibbles--the beginning is a bit slow; the coda a tad too long; certain characters may be a shade too good, or a shade too bad--but it is still so well-done. Definitely Haigh's best novel, and I will be surprised if I read many better novels this year. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Terri recommends it
  ValNewHope | Mar 21, 2018 |
I think Haigh is so underrated - her novels are quietly under-the-radar great and this one is no exception. I thought the story was slightly underserved by having a first person narrator but the novel is such a compelling look at a family's response to pedophilia among the Catholic clergy in the Boston area, it 's easy to overlook.

A very smart well written novel. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 28, 2017 |
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It's a fight you'll never win
And now you bow your head in shame
For a sin no one forgives

-- Dropkick Murphys, "This Is Your Life"

He lives for God, who lives by the Rule. -- St. Benedict
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For Jimmy, my first friend
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Here is a story my mother has never told me.
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Love to marriage to home and family: connect those dots, and you get the approximate shape of most people's lives. Take them away, and you lose any hope for connection. You give up your place in the world.
In his view, no eight-year-old has mastered the cheap ruses of adulthood. When kids lie, they don't want to be believed; their deepest wish is to be known and understood. For my brother this is a point of faith; a child will tell the truth if he feels safe and accepted. All you have to do is gain his trust.
It was a thing I had always known but until recently had forgotten: that faith is a decision. In its most basic form, it is a choice.
As always, her worries seemed larger at night. It happens to us all, Father Art had once told her. The dark night of the soul.
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Sheila McGann is estranged from her complicated family. But when her older brother Art, pastor of a large suburban parish, finds himself at the center of a scandal, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him. Her strict mother lives in a state of angry denial; her younger brother Mike has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.

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