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Publisher's Summary

In Depression-era Boston, a city divided by privilege and poverty, two unlikely friends are bound by a dangerous secret in this mesmerizing work of historical fiction from the New York Times best-selling author of The Perfume Collector.

Maeve Fanning is a first-generation Irish immigrant born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston's North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she's determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin - a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her unladylike desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston's wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America's social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar - only to discover she's the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by Diana's attractive brother, James, Maeve becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family - a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity, deceit, and, ultimately, betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she'll go to reinvent herself.

©2016 Kathleen Tessaro (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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I loved this book!!

The narrator was excellent and the story was interesting. I love when I find a book I can't stop listening to and this was one of them. Definitely worth it!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Well told story

A bit lengthy but quite an interesting story with excellent character development. Descriptive, thoughtful writing

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Disappointed

Would you try another book from Kathleen Tessaro and/or Susan Bennett?

Yes I would try another book . The story moved slow and the character develoment I felt was labored. Other listener's ratings are quite high. My comment "disappointed " was determined from characters behavioral traits that changed too quickly towards the final couple chapters<br/> When individuals have addictions and morality issues erasing them comes after intense work.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

When people are suffering from psychological issues; and the there are a few of these characters here in this story, It takes time to change ones life. I did not get the feeling that the necessary time was built into the story.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I'm fond of joyful endings and this book does give one the feeling that joy can be obtained if challenges and troubles are addressed and not avoided.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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SO good!

This was wonderfully read and written. Lovely from beginning to end. Great story, beautifully read be Susan Bennett.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

A very interesting story. I wished there was more.

This is a very interesting story I do wish that there was more. It left unanswered questions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LFH
  • COOKEVILLE, TN, US
  • 06-09-17

Story with many layers!

I really liked this book. Well-developed characters, interesting plot lines and descriptive literary style. The narration was, also, top notch. Recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ended too soon

Opening museum scene has no connection to end of book. Is there a sequel in the making?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Memorable good read!

A young pretty Irish girl with spirit, wit, & intelligence, somehow landed in more difficulty than she could handle in New York City. Hitting rock bottom she comes home to Boston to try to find work & make a new life after 1929 crash. Wanting a fresh start Maeve Fanning becomes May Fanning , bleached her fiery red hair a "Harlow" blonde hair and enters the society set through her new job at the rarefied antiques shop & her past connection to a Society young friend.
There in lies a tail....a story of class , conflict, & a realization that money doesn't buy happiness .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful

Lovely in its prose. Tessaro offers a never ending minutia so delightful and layered, every scene can be throughly imagined and enjoyed. In tandem, I was left riveted by what would happen next to the wonderful antihero and protagonist Maeve Fanning

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ending!!

Why did it end like that? I want more! Great book. :) One I came back to over and over wanting more!